Del Mar Council raises city manager’s pay

Praising City Manager Scott Huth’s work in 2016, the Del Mar City Council unanimously approved a 2 percent raise and a 4 percent bonus for their top administrator at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 5.

The increase will be added to Huth’s current salary of $203,000, and is intended to bring his pay within 5 to 7 percent of the median salary for city managers in San Diego County, according to a report on the council’s agenda.

Before the raise, said the report, Huth’s salary was 8.4 percent below the median of $221,613, according to a survey of San Diego city manager compensation performed by the city. The survey found Huth’s salary stood fourth-lowest among other city managers in the county.

Del Mar’s population, at about 4,300, is the lowest among San Diego County’s 18 cities.

The increase was Huth’s second in about six months. The council granted Huth a 3 percent raise and a 3 percent bonus in June, following a performance evaluation for the calendar year 2015.

Under his current contract with the city, Huth receives a performance evaluation and potential raise every year. At Monday’s meeting, Councilman Terry Sinnott noted that the 2015 review had been delayed, and that was why Huth received two evaluations so close together this year.

Council members credited Huth with a number of major accomplishments in 2016, from launching construction of the new city hall to finalizing a deal to send the city’s wastewater to the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority for processing.

Wastewater treatment may not be “sexy,” said Councilman Don Mosier, but the agreement with San Elijo will save the city tens of millions of dollars over the long term and is a “huge accomplishment.” The deal will also bring recycled water to the Beach Colony and Village areas, according to the agenda report.

City council members also praised Huth’s stewardship of city finances, which included increases in city reserves and capital improvement funding.

The city’s financial condition is improved, and is now “very healthy,” said Sinnott, for which he credited the work of Huth and city staff.

“Our general conclusion is Scott is doing very good work, meeting our expectations in a number of different areas,” said Sinnott.

One reason the council wanted to complete Huth’s performance review at this point, said Sinnott, is that two new council members, Dave Druker and Ellie Haviland, will be sworn in next week, taking the seats now held by Mosier and Councilman Al Corti. The current council wanted to handle the performance evaluation for 2016, Sinnott said.

As part of Huth’s performance review, council members also suggested opportunities for improvement. According to Councilman Dwight Worden, one such area is communicating with the community.

Huth assumed his post in 2012. In 2015, the council approved a three-year extension of his contract, which runs through Jan. 1, 2018.

Included in Huth’s package of benefits, according to his contract with the city, is a $500 monthly car allowance and a $150 per month cell phone allowance. Per his contract, Huth also received a cost of living increase of 1.6 percent in January, in addition to the merit increases, according to the city.