Durham city manager gets 8.1 percent raise

jwise@newsobserver.comSeptember 9, 2013 

City Council members have raised City Manager Tom Bonfield’s annual salary to $200,193, after an 8.1 percent increase effective July 1.

“He’s been a good manager,” Mayor Bill Bell said Monday. “He’s acquitted himself well in the community.”

Bonfield’s previous salary was $185,192, up from $181,560 in the 2011-12 fiscal year. When he became Durham’s city manager in 2008, his initial salary was $178,000.

Bonfield’s raise was approved in a closed City Council meeting last week, along with 2 percent raises for City Attorney Patrick Baker and City Clerk Ann Gray. Baker’s pay rose from $182,694 to $186,348, Gray’s from $102,236 to $104,281. The manager, attorney and clerk are the only city employees that report directly to the council, which conducts their annual performance reviews.

The city’s 2013-14 budget included 2 percent raises for general employees meeting performance expectations, and 3 percent to 5 percent increases for police and firefighters.

Bonfield took the city manager’s job in 2008. He was the third city manager since Bell was first elected mayor in 2001, and Bell also worked with several county managers in 26 years as a Durham County commissioner. Bonfield, he said, “ranks up there with the best of them.

“He’s come in and really taken charge of the city,” Bell said, but added, “Being manager is not just managing city government, it’s relating to the community.” On that count, he said, Bonfield’s performance has been well received “in all quarters.

“He’s just got good reviews all around,” Bell said.

Bonfield’s raise leaves him slightly below County Manager Mike Ruffin, whose current pay is $205,373, the same as in fiscal 2012-13. Ruffin’s next performance evaluation is due in November, according to Durham County spokeswoman Deborah Craig-Ray.

County Attorney Lowell Siler is paid $178,404, up from $171,131 in 2012-13; the salary for V. Michelle Parker-Evans, clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, rose from $83,762 to $87,322 in the current fiscal year.

Wise: 919-641-5895

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