City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

August 8, 2011
Sacramento city manager pay increasing sharply

The job of Sacramento city manager is about to become much more lucrative.

In a contract expected to be approved by the City Council on Tuesday, newly-appointed city manager John Shirey will make a base salary of $258,000. With retirement contributions, health benefits and allowances, his annual compensation will hit $305,940.

That's roughly $35,000 more a year than the previous two full-time city managers - Gus Vina and Ray Kerridge. Shirey's base salary will be equal to the region's highest-paid local government official, Sacramento County Executive Brad Hudson.

Interim City Manager Bill Edgar, who served as the city's lead negotiator with Shirey, said the compensation package was fair, noting Shirey is the first Sacramento city manager in recent memory to have previous city manager experience.

Shirey, the current head of the California Redevelopment Association, was the city manager in Cincinnati for eight years.

"He is a very experienced, well-known and talented city manager," Edgar said. "(The City Council) wanted an experienced manager and somebody who had led a big city."

Also in a first for Sacramento, Shirey is expected to sign a three-year contract with the city. That agreement comes with a six-month severance should Shirey be fired without cause.

And in an interesting arrangement, Shirey would also receive a six-month severance if he quits as a result of Sacramento adopting a "strong mayor" form of government. Shirey has been critical of strong mayor governments, which transfer many of the duties currently held by the city manager to the mayor.

Mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to resurrect his campaign to adopt a strong mayor government next year.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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