Greg Doyon, the man unanimously selected Dec. 1 to be Billings’ next city administrator has a handful of contract expectations substantially different from those held by a city council subcommittee.
Meeting by telephone Monday with W.D. Higginbotham of the Mercer Group, the firm the council hired to assist with the search to replace Tina Volek, subcommittee members said they objected to some of Doyon’s demands.
According to Higginbotham, Doyon, the Great Falls city manager, seeks from the Billings City Council $170,000 in annual salary, $15,000 more than Volek made during her final year leading Montana’s largest city.
Volek retired Sept. 30 after 13 years as city administrator.
He also seeks six weeks of vacation; $12,000 in relocation expenses, including up to six months' payment for storage space; and the same cost-of-living raise as city employees receive, plus a possible merit raise for himself of 0-5 percent annually.
The subcommittee — Chairman Larry Brewster, Mayor Tom Hanel and council members Angela Cimmino, Chris Friedel, Dick Clark and Shaun Brown — recommended that Doyon be offered $155,000 in salary, four weeks of vacation, $7,000 in moving and storage expense and no COLA raise, but the possibility of a merit raise.
Higginbotham said he would communicate the subcommittee’s recommendations to Doyon on Tuesday. He’ll also speak to Billings attorney Tom Singer, who is helping the council formulate Doyon’s contract. Singer was present at Monday’s meeting.
“I am a strong believer that everything is negotiable,” Higginbotham said, “but I do know that (Doyon) has some strong views on some of these issues.”
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He said a survey of cities in the West and Midwest with population from 100,000 to 250,000 indicated their top administrator is paid in the range of $170,000-$185,000.
The subcommittee found other potential contract items more palatable. Among them:
- Doyon said once the contract is agreed upon — and the council is scheduled to vote on the still-to-be-written contract on Dec. 18 — he can begin his new work Feb. 1, 2018.
- Doyon said he’d consider reimbursing the city if he leaves the job on his own accord during his first year of employment.
- In addition to his regular retirement compensation from the city, Doyon seeks an annual 7-percent deferred compensation payment.
- The subcommittee agreed to an annual evaluation, but members said they were willing to evaluate his performance after the first six months as well.
In his current position, Doyon is paid about $137,000 annually.
“We will be fortunate to find anyone at $155,000,” Brown said. “We can hire them, but are they the person we want for Billings? I don’t know.”
Of the $155,000 offer, Hanel said, “I’m going to stand firm on this one.”
The subcommittee is scheduled to reconvene at 8 a.m. Thursday in the first-floor conference room at City Hall, 210 N. 27th St.