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Complaints don't stop talk of raise

As commissioners consider giving City Manager Steven Stanton a 4 percent raise, he responds to concerns about communication problems.

Although city commissioners voiced concerns about City Manager Steven Stanton's communication skills, they seem poised to grant a proposed 4 percent raise in his salary.

The commission will vote on the proposal at Tuesday's commission meeting. At this week'smeeting, most commissioners said they supported it _ but not all of them.

"Steve, I think you do an adequate job. You have a vision," Commissioner Mary Laurence said Tuesday. "I also think you make more than adequate money.

"This type of increase is too much," she said. But she added that her opinion of the salary increase did not reflect her opinion of Stanton.

Stanton's current salary is about $90,700. The raise would boost that figure to about $94,300. His automobile allowance would remain unchanged at $4,200.

His annual retirement pay, which is based on 10 percent of his salary, would go from $9,069 to $9,431. His total compensation package would go from $104,000 to $108,000.

The commission completed its annual evaluation of Stanton in the middle of July, and some commissioners referred to concerns over Stanton's communication skills during Tuesday's discussion.

Commissioner Jean Halvorsen said she was upset about being uninformed that a high-ranking police administrator resigned. Halvorsen said she learned about the resignation by reading about it in the newspaper.

She noted that someone called inquiring about the employee, and she didn't know the worker was gone. She asked to be informed whenever an employee is dismissed, or at least high-ranking ones.

Commissioner Pat Burke, however, said not to put her name on that list.

"Well, then you're not getting the kind of calls I do," Halvorsen responded.

Stanton said he will try to make sure commissioners feel informed.

"I'd be more than willing to meet with commissioners more than once a week or to have longer work sessions," he said.

Though also critical of Stanton's communication skills, Commissioner Marty Shelby pointed out that all commissioners may not want the same information.

"I feel sorry for any person in any job who has seven supervisors," Shelby said. He said he had hoped communication between Stanton and the commission would have improved over the last year, but said it had not.

"When something happens, what I don't want to hear is "Yes, it has happened before, and it will happen again,' " Shelby said. "What I'm looking for is a proactive response."

Mayor Thomas Feaster agreed that each commissioner has individual demands.

"There are seven of us . . . with individual ideas of what they ought to have and what they ought not to," Feaster said. "So just try and try and try. I wish there were a better system."