Mayor praises Kibby, but opposes amount of raise
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – The City Council, approved a 4.3 percent raise for City Administrator Mark Kibby June 25, with Mayor William Matakas, who opposed the amount, casting a dissenting vote.
Councilman Larry Templin was absent.
Matakas said in a council study session prior to the council meeting that he was opposed to the size of the proposed raise.
“The 4.3 is above the 2.5 that all the others are being given, and so, when that motion is put on the table, after whoever is the proponent speaks first, I would expect to speak second in opposition,” Matakas said.
Councilwoman Gail McLeod said at the study session that much analysis was done, and she said Kibby’s pay is very low for a comparable position.
During the meeting, McLeod said the Human Resources committee met a number of times, and reviewed all compensation throughout the city which they impact. She said the committee does not influence the compensation of elected officials.
“We looked at survey data from the Michigan Municipal League, we looked at surrounding communities, we did comparisons based on population, revenue, budget,” she said. “There was a lot of discussion. Mr. (Councilman Harry) Sisko having been here when Mr. Kibby was hired, attests to the fact that he was hired in at lower than the going rate for someone of his background and experience.”
McLeod said several years ago an adjustment to Kibby’s salary was made above and beyond the 2.5 percent, but last year, with the city’s expenses with the move to the new city hall, he did not receive a raise.
She said they looked at the compensation of all department heads, and Kibby’s pay is so out-of-line that cities with one-fifth the population of Allen Park have higher paid city administrators.
“Seventeen years ago, the city administrator was being paid approximately what we are paying Mr. Kibby right now,” McLeod said. “This (raise) still gets Mr. Kibby nowhere near what he should be, comparably, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Matakas said at the council meeting that other directors are receiving a 2.5 percent raise, and contracts have been signed with the labor groups which are about 2.5 percent.
The mayor said negotiations with Fire Department personnel, and the likely resolution of the health care cases brought by retirees against the city, have had a significant impact on expenditure increases, which he said he believes will soon be coming to a conclusion.
Matakas said last year, he suggested hiring an assistant city administrator, which others opposed, and now he is hearing from others that Kibby is under-paid.
Sisko countered by saying that eight years ago, the city was a mess, and it had been for a while, going back to the Burtka administration.
“It is 2019 now, and we have a city administrator who has put this city on the right direction, and it is on his shoulders,” Sisko said. “We as a council and mayor are part-time. We don’t spend every day here.”
Sisko said everything falls on the administrator.
He said a 4.3 percent raise, instead of a 2.5 percent raise – a 1.8 difference, is an attempt to try to bring his salary in line with what “a man of his caliber” can be making.
Sisko said Kibby has received “consistently great” performance reviews.
“I don’t think we would be here right now if it wasn’t for Mark Kibby,” Sisko said. “I have lived here all my life, and I have seen the city – what’s happened – over time, the neglect that has happened, and it is not happening anymore.”
Sisko said he and Matakas were part of the committee that hired Kibby.
“Mark Kibby came in at a bargain, and that’s just the plain and simple fact,” Sisko said. “It is embarrassing now to have to go to bat for him for a 4.3 percent raise.”
Sisko apologized to Kibby for him having to sit through the public debate over his raise.
“He is a Melvindale brother, because he grew up in Melvindale,” Sisko said. “So, he understands Allen Park. And as much as I would like to see all of the people who work for the city live in Allen Park, I am sure if Mark had to do it over again, he would be living in Allen Park.”
“I tried, but I couldn’t afford it,” Kibby said, amid laughter.
Sisko said the Melvindale city administrator makes more than Kibby.
“I hope Mark Kibby is here for a really long time,” Sisko said. “I hope everybody sees the good deeds that he has done, the long hours that he works.”
Matakas said they shouldn’t base Kibby’s salary based on the fear of him being hired by another community.
“I don’t see some fear of the competition being a reason to start paying inordinate amounts,” Matakas said.
McLeod said they looked at everyone’s comparative compensation, and everyone lined up, even with the cuts made during the time of the emergency manager.
“Had we noticed any other department heads out of sync, we would have come forward with similar recommendations for them,” McLeod said. “The difference between the 2.5 percent increase and the one that is being recommended is $1,887.”
McLeod said Kibby’s raise is not to prevent him from being stolen away.
“He has reiterated a number of times to all of us that he loves this city, and that he will do everything he can to make sure that we stay steady and solvent and move forward,” McLeod said.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])