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Columbia City Council Approves Salary Bump for City Manager

Mike Matthes
City of Columbia website

  City Manager Mike Matthes got a salary increase after much city council discussion last night.

The amendment to Matthes’ contract had unanimous approval, taking his base salary from $150,000 to $165,000. But as Third Ward Council Member Karl Skala made clear, Matthes is not actually receiving a $15,000 raise.

Since he began in 2011, he has received several smaller raises that applied to city employees across the board. This has brought Matthes’ current salary to $157,186, so instead of a 10 percent salary increase, it’s just less than 5 percent.

Second Ward City Council member Michael Trapp noted that all of Matthes’ extra money was initiated by the council.

“And just to inform the public, Mike has never asked for a raise,” Trapp said.

Some members of the public expressed opposition to the increase, citing disapproval of his performance and a desire to see city funds go elsewhere.

But, council members largely offered support for the pay raise, both on approval of Matthes’ work and for economic reasons.

Mayor Bob McDavid said the cost of a search for a new city manager would be at least $100,000.  He also said that currently, Columbia isn’t competing with the average city manager salaries in comparable cities, which are over $200,000.

“At the end of the day, when you have a city manager with skills and experience, he’s a valuable commodity,” McDavid said. “And if you are going to pay below the market rate, you are going to run the risk of having to go through this process again.”

The council also approved the West Central Columbia Neighborhood Action Plan that has been in the works since January. The plan aims to better handle land use within the area from McBaine Avenue on the East to Stadium Boulevard on the West, and bordered by Business Loop 70 to the North and Broadway on the South.

In the next meeting, council members will begin to review proposals for appropriating funds for parks projects with revenue from the sales tax that voters approved in the November election.

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