Council ups the pay range for city mgr.

Published 9:40 am Monday, January 10, 2011

The profile for a new Albert Lea city manager will soon be advertised to the nation after getting some last-minute changes by the City Council Thursday night.

During the workshop, the council members agreed unanimously to increase the salary range for the position. The next city manager will get somewhere between $90,000 and $110,000, whereas the range during the previous city manager search had been $83,700 to $108,400.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen said most communities in Greater Minnesota similar to Albert Lea are hiring their city managers at least at $100,000, and he suggested that the council raise the range for Albert Lea.

“The reality is, this person can save us $10,000 a day if they’re good,” Rasmussen said.

According to research from city staff, Austin’s city administrator makes $107,556; Owatonna’s administrator makes $100,425; and Faribault’s administrator makes $115,000.

Former Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman, who resigned in September amid controversy, had an annual starting salary of $95,000 a year.

He was appointed as city manager after the City Council and candidate Alan Lanning of Pines North, Colo., were unable to reach an agreement for Lanning’s starting salary.

Council members said Lanning wanted a salary in the upper two-thirds of the range. Put more specifically, he wanted $105,000 a year.

During the Thursday workshop, the council also discussed whether to change the car allowance for the position, talking about how Albert Lea has the highest car allowance out of nearby communities.

Owatonna provides $225 a month; Austin $400 and Faribault $375.

Council members also recommended changing the qualifications required for the city manager position to state a person must possess a master’s degree in public administration, community or economic development, business, finance or a related field and have eight years of public sector administrative and managerial experience. A bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience can substitute for a master’s degree.

According to a timeline provided by Brimeyer-Fursman LLC. — the search firm conducting the search for the new manager — candidates can apply for the position from Tuesday through Feb. 14.

Candidates will be screened by Brimeyer-Fursman Feb. 15 through March 2, and then on March 3 or 4, the council will receive a report of the candidates.

On March 7, the City Council is scheduled to select the top-five candidates.

Interviews will be March 25 and 26, and the new manager is scheduled to begin at the end of April or beginning of May.

City manager salary comparisons
City    Salary    Car allowance
Faribault    $115,000    $375/mo.
Owatonna    $100,425    $225/mo.
Winona    $110,000    $300/mo.
Austin    $107,556    $400/mo.
Albert Lea    $90,000-$110,000    $500/mo.