Keller, Texas - where city manager cut his own job - finds ways to spend the savings

piggy bank

Thank you, City of Keller, for restoring our shaken faith in government.

The whole world, practically, went all soft and weepy in March when your city manager, Dan O’Leary, said he was leaving his job and his $176,000 a year salary.

To the amazement of the hard-bitten of us in the press, O’Leary said he thought it was the right thing to do because there wasn’t enough work to go around for him and his assistants. O’Leary didn’t even have another job to go to.

What a relief it is, then, to learn that rather than reduce the budget by $176,000,  you gave $75,000 in raises to four of your highest paid employees, including O’Leary’s successor, Steve Polasek, and hired a new management assistant at $55,000-a-year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting today.

O’Leary was apparently wrong about that municipal workload. Polasek, one of his two assistants, told the City Council O’Leary’s departure increased the responsibilities for the top department heads.

The council obliged by raising Polasek’s salary by almost $40,000 to $169,000 a year. The council promoted Chris Fuller, the other assistant, to deputy city manager with a $15,000 bump to $145,000.

The council gave Police Chief Mark Hafner a new title, director of public safety, and a $15,000 raise to $145,000 a year. And Tom Elgin, the community development manager got a $5,000 increase to $95,000 a year.

"We didn't hand out raises," Polasek told the Star-Telegram. "We gave them new titles to fit the work that they're doing, and then we provided salaries that are commensurate with what the position calls for."

It seems O’Leary, who has since been hired to be the city manager of Duncanville, didn’t fully realize his value, Polasek says. Not only to Keller, but to those who fervently believe it is government’s sacred duty to spend your tax money.

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Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo 'Broken Piggy Bank' by flickr user 401K, used via a Creative Commons license.