in Houston, Texas
An Ott-of-this world pay package: Austin City Manager Marc Ott in line for a $7,000 raise -- and a cool $400k if he’s fired
Monday, Aug 27, 2012, 02:08PM CST
By Curt Olson
money

Austin City Manager Marc Ott will receive his second raise in as many years if rank-and-file city employees receive a raise proposed in the 2012-13 city budget that will be up for approval next month.

Austin’s non-civil service employees would see an increase of 3 percent, which would simultaneously boost Ott’s salary to $256,746, up $7,478 from his current salary of $249,268. It would be the second raise for Ott since he became Austin city manager in January 2008, the Austin Bulldog reports.

The amount of more than $256,000 reflects Ott’s base pay. His compensation catapults higher with contract perks that include $50,620 in deferred compensation, executive allowance, automobile allowance, cell phone allowance, and retirement or health-care related benefits, the Bulldog reported.

Ott’s recommendation for a raise surfaced following a lengthy Austin City Council closed session earlier this month. After council members emerged from the executive session discussion of personnel, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said, “I just wanted to say that we did in executive session (take up the issue of) compensation and benefits of the city manager, and we look forward to his continued service.”

Ott’s raise comes in a package of 3 percent raises forthcoming for the city auditor and city clerk. The municipal court clerk would receive a 5 percent raise to bring her up to the market rate, said Mayor Lee Leffingwell, the Bulldog reported.

In advance of Ott’s personnel evaluation, the Austin American-Statesman reported there were grumblings about the city manager. Those who complain about Ott focused on his handling of the Austin Energy rate hike, which will be in place in October and took two years to resolve, and his grasp of environmental battles that still exist in Austin. One council member expressed concern about how city government responds to the needs of a growing population.

Ott ranks third in base pay among city managers in Texas, according to data compiled by the Texas Tribune.

If Austin City Council terminates Ott, he would be entitled to severance pay of more than $431,000, according to the Austin Bulldog.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us onTwitterandScribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feed in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, NewsVine and tumblr.

Photo of the money by flickr user Unhindered by Talent, used via a Creative Commons license.

Investment officers, medical positions highest paid in state agencies, but executive pay disparities emerge in Texas state audit
Friday, Aug 24, 2012, 04:15PM CST
By Curt Olson
money

A new report from State Auditor John Keel confirms that investment officers and medical positions remain the best paid in state government.

The audit on executive pay at state agencies also shows some deputy administrators and other employees earn as much or more than the executive who manages the agency where they work.

One chart in the audit shows the 25 highest-paid investment officers in state government earn salaries between $180,000 and $480,000. The top three, two investors with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and one with the Employees Retirement System of Texas, make more than the highest paid state agency executive. ERS Executive Director Ann Bishop earns $312,000 and is eligible for a bonus from the ERS board.

Some of the investment officers in this list may be paid incentive compensation if investment returns surpass goals. Keel outlined incentive compensation in this report about three months ago for certain investment officers in TRS, ERS and the Permanent School Fund.

Meanwhile, the top 25 medical positions identified by Keel, all physicians or psychiatrists, earn between $208,260 and $216,652.

Some of the trends in Texas state agency executive pay disparities Keel found include:

  • A total of 181 employees at 12 state agencies had salaries that exceeded the annual salaries of the executive officer at their agencies.
  • A total of 107 employees at 37 state agencies had salaries that were the same as or within 10 percent less than the annual salaries of the executive officer at their agencies.
  • The Health and Human Services commissioner, who oversees five agencies and budget of about $32 billion, has a lower salary than the annual salaries for eight other management positions at state agencies.

These trends occur in a time of budget reductions at state government, with state agency leaders instructed to brace for more in the budget for 2014-15.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us onTwitterandScribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feed in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, NewsVine and tumblr.

Photo of the money by flickr user Steve Rhodes, used via a Creative Commons license.

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