Benicia set to hire a new city manager

Benicia set to hire a new city manager

There are 8 comments on the Vallejo Times-Herald story from Oct 28, 2010, titled Benicia set to hire a new city manager. In it, Vallejo Times-Herald reports that:

The city plans to name Brad Kilger its new city manager, replacing Jim Erickson, who announced his retirement in April, officials announced late Wednesday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Vallejo Times-Herald.


Walnut Creek, CA

#1 Oct 28, 2010
How can they justify a "housing allowance" with a base salary of $187,500? Where does the madness end with these city salaries??
Local Person

Clayton, CA

#2 Oct 28, 2010
He gets a hugh increase from his current salary PLUS a housing allowance PLUS all the other benefits (car allowance, retirement, health, dental etc.). How hard is it to be an adminstrator of Benicia, a city with less than 27,000 people, low crime rate, active elecorate?

In addition to getting rid of the ridiculous salaries, how about a rule against relatives being hired. A recent column in the Benicia Herald written by an applicant for City Treasurer asked how the City could choose an employee with little finiancial background. Look at the employee's last name and it tells you all.

Vallejo, CA

#3 Oct 28, 2010
So why does Vallejo have to pay their City manager $300,000. IT really makes no sense.

Stockton, CA

#4 Oct 28, 2010
Only 3 comments? Are Benicia citizens cool with this? What does a city manager do anyway? It just seems like they're like a human resources director.

Pleasanton, CA

#5 Oct 28, 2010
Part 1

"As the city's chief executive officer, Kilger will be paid an annual base salary of $187,500 -- 9.6 percent less than Erickson. Kilger earns about $150,000 a year in his current position.
The city also agreed to pay Kilger an annual housing allowance of $2,000 per month for one year, decreasing to $1,000 per month by the fourth year of employment."

Not sure what numbers Benicia is using to come up with the 9.5% reduction in the pay for the new CM. 187,500 +24K is 211,500 dollars per year. Erickson’s salary is 202K as of 2009, and he also made another 35K plus in the infamous “other” category. I expect the new guy to get something close to that 35K in “other” income - plus the 24K.

Some Concerns about Brad Kilger

Kilger started as the Ceres CM in April of 2006.

- On December 2, 2007 the city of Ceres adjusted salaries upward to a maximum of 16% based on recommendations contained in a salary survey. When salaries are increased by 16% employee costs in Ceres probably increase by a factor of 1.3 (16% increase in salary * 1.3 = an employee cost increase of 20.8 %.). Salary surveys are easily manipulated.

- On July 1, 2008 they increased compensation by another 2% for the employees that were greater than16% below the salary survey.

-On July 1, 2009 the employee group received a 3% raise.

Here is what Kilger said in March of 2009,“government officials couldn't project the extent of the decline in sales and property taxes. Both plummeted over the past two years but could take much longer to recover.

"The whole fundamentals of what the economy is based on are in flux," Kilger said. He expects to cut salaries using the same options being considered by Modesto.”

I think the writing was already on the wall when compensation was increased by as much as 16% in one year, especially in places like Stockton, Modesto, and Ceres. Here is the article that contains the quote:

In 2009 Kilger took a 5% pay cut, employee positions were eliminated, and in FY2010-11 Ceres suspended holiday pay. I’m not sure if this guy is good or not but my little bit of research raises some questions. On the surface it doesn’t appear that he is fiscally conservative.

Pleasanton, CA

#6 Oct 28, 2010
Part 2

CM Erickson’s 2009 salary is $201,780 +$35,733 (in the infamous “other” category) for a total of $237,513, and this probably represents his pensionable income for retirement calculations. He can add to that number if he cashes in his 14 days of holiday pay (12 holidays + 2 make believe holidays). That doesn’t include the city’s Calpers contribution of $28,500. If Benicia has outstanding Pension Obligation Bonds the pension cost would be higher, but I‘ll use that number for now. So the total cost is roughly 266,000 dollars per year. I’m not sure if those numbers include a 7% match toward a deferred retirement account that seems to be a Benicia perk. And those numbers don’t include separation payouts that Mr. Erickson will soon receive.

I almost forgot. I should point out about the city pays the departing CM’s entire pension cost. He pays ZERO toward his own retirement which means the taxpayers pick-up the entire tab. The city pays the 12%“employer” share toward his 2.7@55 retirement, and also pays the 7%“employee” share (taxpayers will pay even more toward Erickson’s retirement for many years to help cover the unfunded debt of the retirement plan). This is significant and not only because it makes compensation appear less than what it really is. When the city pays the employees share of the pension, he/she is able to count that as additional compensation in the final year of employment under Calpers rules. What that means is that the original salary number I mentioned,$201,780.00, is increased by 7% in the final year pension calculation for a total pensionable salary of $216,000. Add the “other” category of 35,733 and pensionable income grows to 251,733. If he cashes out his holiday pay you can add another 11k to that number. None of that includes the cost of healthcare, Dental, Life Insurance, or disability insurance. The total cost of this CM is probably over 300K.

Finally, Kilgers Ceres Contract pays him 150K plus a six hundred dollar a month car allowance, and the city pays both the employer and employee share of a 2@55 pension. Since then he has taken a 5% pay cut, and eliminated another 5% of pay in the form of suspended holiday pay for a salary of maybe only 135K (I don’t know if he received any raises). He is going to a city that pays 2.7@55, that also pays both ends of the pension contribution for a plan that costs more, is getting a 7% match on a deferred compensation plan, 24K in home allowance that the city has to pay pension contributions on, a base pay that is at least 37,500 more than he was making, and “OTHER” compensation that might add another 25K more than Ceres paid him.

Benicia is telling the taxpayers that 187,500 is 9.5% less then what they pay. I would sure like to know what numbers they are using. And I wish they would tell people what the actual cost really is. People should ask what the total compensation is with all incentives included (many of these management bonuses have gone from performance based to the equivalent of an 18 inch putt- a gimmie). More importantly, people should ask what the total cost of the contract is. There is a big difference between total compensation and total cost.

Not trying to answer any questions but I am trying to give people things to consider.

San Rafael, CA

#7 Oct 28, 2010
Bunch of amateurs

Pleasanton, CA

#8 Oct 28, 2010
Smarterthanyou wrote:
Bunch of amateurs
Maybe you can share your thoughts?

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