NEW PORT RICHEY — Interim City Manager Susan Dillinger has received a big boost in pay for taking on extra duties running the city.
On Tuesday evening, City Council members unanimously approved a 25 percent raise for Dillinger, who has served as New Port Richey Library director for 22 years. The increase took her salary from around $71,000 to just over $89,000.
Earlier this month, the council decided to postpone the hiring of a new city manager until October, in order to get through council elections and the budget season first.
The council tapped Dillinger last October to serve as interim city manager after the resignation of John Schneiger, who told the mayor he believed he had lost the support of a majority on the council.
The council moved away from past practice of paying interim city managers the same rate as their predecessor until a permanent hire could be made. Council member Bill Phillips noted the city will likely seek a permanent city manager for less money than Schneiger made anyway.
Even with the pay bump for Dillinger — which only lasts as long as she holds the interim post — the city will be saving money. Prior to Schneiger's departure, the city had budgeted $109,720 for his salary, and has paid $45,332 of it in severance and salary to him this fiscal year, according to city finance director Doug Haag. So even with Dillinger's raise, the city will still save about $46,000 that would have been paid to Schneiger.
The council did not decide any measures to boost library staff now that Dillinger is spending most of her time running the city. But Dillinger told the Times she is not looking to hire or promote someone as director in her stead.
Instead, Dillinger said she may ask the council to use some of the savings from Schneiger's unused salary to reinstate some library employee working hours lost during the budget cuts. Heading into this budget year, the city laid off two part-time library information specialists and reduced another librarian to part-time.
"I have needed to assign some of my duties to other people in the library, so it's something I will look at," she said.