Atascadero leaders will take pay cuts

Atascadero’s nine department heads are taking larger salary reductions than their employees through 2013 to help the city deal with declining revenue.

The top administrators have opted to take pay cuts between 1 and 3 percent through furlough days. City Manager Wade McKinney opted for a straight pay cut instead of taking furlough days.

Six of the managers opted for the 3 percent cuts while the others chose 1, 1.5 and 2 percent cuts.

The cuts are in addition to a June agreement in which all employees, including executives, agreed to increase their contributions to their retirement to save the city almost $280,000 annually, officials said. The administrators’ voluntary cuts bring an additional $35,000 to that total.

The executives said they wanted to take more reductions than their employees to help lead the effort in closing the budget gap.

“(We) were committed to balancing the city’s budget and agreed to take an additional 1 percent reduction with many executives willing and able to go above and beyond that — up to a 3 percent reduction,” McKinney said.

In fiscal year 2009-10, executives also took voluntary 3 percent cuts via furloughs.

The moves continue a trend of citywide cuts to help Atascadero ride out the recession.

Atascadero’s projection for general fund revenue is about $15.7 million in the 2011-12 fiscal years and $16.1 million in 2012-13. But expected spending exceeds those amounts by about $1 million each year.

The city made other spending cuts in June with 5 percent reductions in each department, resulting in changes such as eliminating a wood-chipping program for residents and postponing city vehicle replacements.

All of the city’s 116 full-time employees, including the top administrators, have agreed to eliminate their cost-of-living pay raises since July 2008. Merit increases are still given to eligible employees.

The managers chose to take their voluntary cuts based on what their salaries were in 2009 because that’s the year their employees stopped getting raises.

All employees’ and managers’ take-home pay is further reduced because they are now contributing more toward their own pensions.

That means the city is paying less toward pension contributions and that money is instead coming from paychecks.

All employees, including managers, are directing 4.7 percent of their take-home pay toward pension contributions through 2013.

That’s new for the public safety employees, who didn’t contribute to pensions from their salary in 2010.

But it’s not new for all other employee groups, such as office staff, who will now pay an additional 2.5 percent of salary toward their pensions.

Pay cuts coming to Atascadero’s city officials

Here is a look at the voluntary pay cut levels chosen by nine Atascadero city officials. The figures represent each manager’s net salary change from 2009 — a year chosen to cut from because it is the base year before salary reductions began. The pay cut is actually greater than their selected percent-ages because staff-wide increased contributions toward pensions are also reflected in the reductions.

City Manager Wade McKinney Reduction: 3 percent; 2009 pay: $162,034; 2012 pay: $153,165

Administrative Services Director Rachelle Rickard Reduction: 3 percent; 2009 pay: $124,650; 2012 pay: $117,827

Community Development Director Warren Frace Reduction: 3 percent; 2009 pay: $124,650; 2012 pay: $117,827

Community Services Director Brady Cherry Reduction: 3 percent; 2009 pay: $124,650; 2012 pay: $117,827

Public Works Director Russ Thompson Reduction: 3 percent; 2009 pay: $124,650; 2012 pay: $117,827

Assistant to the City Manager/City Clerk Marcia Torgerson Reduction: 3 percent ; 2009 pay: $97,666; 2012 pay: $92,321

Assistant City Manager Jim Lewis Reduction: 1.5 percent; 2009 pay: $130,882; 2012 pay: $125,632

Fire Chief Kurt Stone Reduction: 1 percent; 2009 pay: $136,942; 2012 pay: $129,200

Police Chief Jerel Haley* Reduction: 2 percent; 2012 pay: $130,781

* hired at an annual salary of $136,944 in 2011

Source: City of Atascadero