A year of big projects at Lawrence City Hall is set to culminate with a $10,000 raise for City Manager David Corliss.
City commissioners at their weekly meeting will vote on a new contract for Corliss that calls for a 7.6 percent increase that will take his salary to $140,000 a year.
“We looked at his salary in comparison to other city managers in the area, and we found him at the low end of the spectrum,” Mayor Bob Schumm said. “We want to make sure he has the understanding that we want him here and nowhere else.”
The 7.6 percent increase is well above the pay increases city employees have received in recent years, but was the first increase in annual salary for Corliss since 2007.
Corliss — who took over the city’s top spot in 2006 — said he’s appreciative of the increase and is as happy as ever at City Hall.
“I consider it a privilege to work for the community,” said Corliss, who has been an employee of the city since 1990 when he started as a City Hall management analyst.
City commissioners conducted two closed-door evaluations of Corliss in recent weeks. Schumm said commissioners were pleased with Corliss’ performance, and took two sessions because they wanted to do a thorough review. The commission did not conduct an evaluation last year, he said.
“We have rated his performance as outstanding,” Schumm said. “The city is very sound financially. It has been managed very well.”
Corliss has been at the center of several big-ticket projects recently, including an $18 million expansion of the Lawrence Public Library that is under way, planned construction of a $25 million recreation center, and continued work to convert the former Farmland Industries fertilizer plant into a business park.
Schumm said city commissioners also have been pleased that the city’s fund balance — the city’s version of a savings account — has grown during Corliss’ tenure, and that there has been a renewed emphasis on improving aging infrastructure.
Schumm said commissioners “were pleased with all departments,” but did ask Corliss to continue to look to strengthen the city’s planning department and its inspections division. Corliss was asked to continue working on ways to create a “one-stop shop” for Planning and Development Services, which currently has its offices in separate buildings.
The city looked at salary information for top government administrators in Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Manhattan, Wyandotte County, Olathe and Douglas County. Corliss’ salary was near the bottom of the list, and Schumm said other smaller communities — he cited both Shawnee and Lenexa — paid their city managers more.
In addition to the $10,000 raise, the new contract also calls for the city’s contribution to Corliss’ retirement plan to increase to $19,000 a year, up from $16,500.
Commissioners meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.