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Petition aims to cap salary of city management

City official says limit would have unintended consequences on all staff
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Friends of Roseville is circulating an initiative aimed at reducing the pay of top city management.

The initiative calls for a salary cap on management/confidential and Roseville City Council-appointed employees, restricting their compensation to no more than double the current average household income in Roseville.

That income is $82,156, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Salary would include annual wages, overtime, deferred compensation and benefits. Union employees, police and firefighters would not be affected.

“We feel government employees should make an adequate living and shouldn’t be overly compensated,” said FORE Chairman Phil Ozenick. “People are upset about the runaway payment to high-management people.”

FORE is a citizens watchdog group formed to educate the public on issues related to local government.

City Manager Ray Kerridge currently makes $251,433 plus an annual deferred compensation of $21,997. Under this cap, he would earn no more than about $165,000, including benefits.

This cap would also impact City Attorney Brita Bayless, Assistant City Manager John Sprague, City Treasurer Russ Branson, Roseville Electric Director Michelle Bertolino and a handful of other upper management who make more than $165,000 annually.

City spokeswoman Megan MacPherson said imposing this limit would inadvertently have a negative impact on all staff.

“We haven’t yet analyzed the effect of this since it hasn’t qualified as an initiative and thus been presented to council,” MacPherson said. “However, a reduction in the city manager’s salary would put downward pressure on the salaries of the entire workforce.”

Currently, salaries are fixed by the City Council, which is a body elected by Roseville voters. But Ozenick — a former councilman — said the council doesn’t recognize the frustration of residents over the pay of certain public employees.

“They look at what other cities give their top management and they mimic that,” he said. “We’re out on the street listening to people. They need to get out and talk to the average Jane and Joe.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Ozenick and another volunteer were collecting signatures outside Save Mart on Foothills Boulevard. Ozenick said he alone has garnered 1,700 signers.

Proponents of the initiative must collect the signatures of 9,611 registered Roseville voters by Nov. 29 to get the item on the ballot.

Roseville resident George Beutner signed the petition, saying he doesn’t like that Kerridge earns close to $300,000.

“There’s too much of this extreme stuff going on, with the city manager’s pay,” Beutner said.

Friends of Roseville had originally planned to circulate a second petition for the creation of an elected Public Utility Commission with the authority to approve utility rate increases, but has put that initiative on hold, Ozenick said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.