Archive for Monday, April 1, 2013

City Commission to consider giving Lawrence’s city manager $10,000 raise

April 1, 2013


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.


Dave Trabert 3 years, 1 month ago

According to payroll information received from the City of Lawrence, David Corliss was paid $163,554 in 2012. If his base salary is $140,000 he must be receiving additional compensation. We requested total pay, not just salary. Benefits like insurance and retirement are not included.

It's interesting that the justification is comparison to Lenexa and Shawnee, as both cities pay well above average on a per-resident basis. Lenexa paid their manager $190,311 to manage a city of just 48,972 people (Using 2011 Census estimates). Shawnee paid $163,324 for a city of 63,219.

But Overland Park paid $191,200 to manage a city with 176,185. And Wichita paid $196,825 to manage a city with 384,445 people.

City and county payroll listings obtained through Open Records requests are at

UneasyRider 3 years ago

If Trabert is complaining, must be a fair compensation for Corliss.

Dave Trabert 3 years ago

not complaining...just sharing facts.

Thinking_Out_Loud 3 years ago

Not really, Dave. When you add editorial comments such as "It's interesting..." "a city of just..." and "But..." you create a tone of criticism and complaint.

Yes, it is true that you are using and sharing facts. It is equally true, in my opinion, that you are leading the readers to a specific interpretation of those facts while simultaneously judging the legitimacy of the City Commission's reasoning.

Meanwhile, you set yourself up to represent this as merely fact-sharing.

chootspa 3 years ago

Have you heard of this thing called "the free market," Dave? I hear it sometimes involves paying competent employees a high enough salary that they don't go and take a job somewhere else.

Thomas Christie 3 years ago

All salaries in Lawrence are low compared to other cities.

paisley 3 years ago

When I worked for the city...the raise standards were only 2.5% or 5% depending on "who" you were. Why so much and for what? More bunk from the city commissioners!

Topple 3 years ago

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.

Gee, a whole 7.6% after 6 years....outrage!

Bob Forer 3 years ago

You're doing a great job, Brownie.

jlw53 3 years ago

Maybe they're afraid he will leave. Can't be much more than a dozen well-qualified people who would take the job if he does. So what if salaries are low compared to other cities. We are not those cities and should only be compared to what we can reasonably afford.

jack22 3 years ago

It sound to me like he's wayyyyyy overpaid already.

cowboy 3 years ago

Honestly , its time for an elected mayor. There is absolutely no accountability in this good ole boys slap each other on the butt club.

grandpaD 3 years ago

He is overpaid, but he does a great job of kissing the developers behinds so the commission feels good. That is how you get the raises.

bballwizard 3 years ago

Our Country is in serious trouble when City employees are making six figure salaries. The assisitant City Manager made $120K. Then they get crazy retirement as well. And we wonder why KPERS is underfunded by 8 billion. Two detectives made six figures too. Tell your kids to get into government if they want to have a nice life.

Hooligan_016 3 years ago

A City Manager can essentially be considered a "CEO" of a municipality. It's not like there isn't accountability, a City Manager can be removed by the City Commission at any time.

another_concerned_parent 3 years ago

In my opinion, I know all the cliché's will fly, but I think the City Manager as well as all City Management should receive the same pay raise as the workers that are "topped out", which he should be for his length of service, which was $250.00 before KPERS, taxes and other deductions. Just saying, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Matthew Herbert 3 years ago

It had been almost a full week since the commission spent money. I for one was holding my breathe.

LadyJ 3 years ago

How about Corliss shows some class and turns down the raise or asks for a reduced raise equivalent to what the everyday city employees get.

wednesdayschild 3 years ago

I miss Mike Wildgen too. Mike was accessible. Has anyone tried to contact or talk to Corliss? He has so many assistant city managers, you never talk directly to him.

Keith 3 years ago

“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.”

Speak for yourself Bob, it would be good for Lawrence if he went somewhere else.

friendlyjhawk 3 years ago

Shame on Corliss if he accepts this raise if it is offered.

Catalano 3 years ago

That would take some doing, but if you're willing, I'm able.

MattressMan 3 years ago

He may not have received an "official" raise since 2007 but according to the open records link Dave posted he must have at the least received some type of benefit increase as it shows his total package in 2009 as $152,343.00 with over a $11,000.00 increase over the last 4 years with 2012 showing $163,554.00

I'd like to see a total compensation breakdown, salary, car allowance etc.

purplesage 3 years ago

This is obscene. Plus, it is interesting that it is published on election day. Since it is time to vote - take note of who approved this and change 'em out.

Matthew Herbert 3 years ago

or, you can read the article and see that no one has "approved this". All they have said is that they will vote on it at their next meeting...which happens after polls close.

patkindle 3 years ago

even though you have a degree from ku, you work ability is so poor that walmart or macdonalds will not hire you. and you live in your parents basement for you , this salary increase may not seem justified

Janet Prestoy 3 years ago

Where are the commissioners getting their information? reports the average city manager salary nationwide is approx $85K. Seems to me that a city the size of Lawrence would be closer to the average.

chootspa 3 years ago

That's the average nationwide, and not the price in metro areas.

notyourmom 3 years ago

Why does Lawrence constantly compare it's self to places in Johnson County? Johnson County is one of the wealthiest areas in the state, and we are a "bedroom community".

chootspa 3 years ago

Because people in Lawrence can easily get paid Johnson County wages by driving to Johnson County. Duh.

SgtSkull 3 years ago

As of March 27, 2013 the Vice president of the United States makes $231,900 per year.

Does a city Manager for Lawrence really deserve to make $140,000 per year.

We need to start somewhere so why dont we start at the community level. What has he done to bring jobs to Lawrence. All that I have seen in Lawrence is taxes raising, crazy amounts of public money being spent (Shelter, library and Recreation center). What percentage of taxpayers in Lawrence will use any of these 3 services. This city raises our taxes and does not bring anymore work to this area. We wonder why people are not moving into Lawrence and why we cannot sell our homes. There is no fiscal responsibility in this town. Yet we should give the city manager a raise??? I ask myself what has he done for us lately other than taking more of the money we work for?

ercwnzgreen 3 years ago

When I worked for the City of Lawrence I received 2.5 to 5% per year, that was about 10 years ago. My husband has been working for the City of Lawrence for about 13 years and for the last at least 5-7 years has received about a 1.2% raise.....Joke....The City of Lawrence is a many overpaid bosses!

Poorforks 3 years ago

Why should he get a rise when the workers only got 1/2% or 1%. When they work so hard and never get a thank you. It is bad for the working people. You throw a lot of money away and the workers don't get anything. Bad deal. I agree with ercwnzgreen

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