Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

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.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year ago

Corliss gets in one month what someone on social security gets in one year!

A low percent raise is a big raise when your saary is big!

Why would someone with a law degree settle for a city job and only make a $140,000 a year?


Poorforks 1 year 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


ercwnzgreen 1 year 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!


SgtSkull 1 year 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?


notyourmom 1 year 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".


lawrenceloser 1 year ago

Buford Watson was the most accessible city manager we ever had.


probusinessproamerica 1 year 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.


mikekt 1 year ago

It doesn't trouble me that David Corliss is up for a raise .

7 years is a long time to go without a raise for anyone .

He is an employee and not an elected politician;...... but most people probably view him,.....and expect him,..... to act as if he is an elected politician .

Yea, would be nice if Government Employees worked for free, if the owners at every fast food place or sit down restaurant would serve you for free and the wait staff would give you money for free for just sitting down at the table that they just served you at !

How about free insurance for life and the use of your insurance companies' private jet fleet with the gold rimmed plates and real silver table service on board, for your next vacation ?

Don't get me started on wanting free GASOLINE ( only the best brand, most expensive grade will do ) .

Would like to see transparency in how David's salary and benefits are accounted so that any accounting idiot illiterate such as myself or other members of the public could understand that without having to hire an outside accountant firm to figure it out .


patkindle 1 year 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


purplesage 1 year 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.


MattressMan 1 year 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.


Number_1_Grandma 1 year ago

We truly do need to get rid of this merry-go-round Mayor system. Bob Schumm is showing his true colors. Wake up, Lawrence! The ONLY way to get any 'real' changes in our city government is by going to an election of a 4 yr Mayor voted in and other commissioners be voted from different parts of town ( 1-North, 1- East, 1- West, 1- South ) for 2 yr stints. This way each commissioner worries/votes what is best for their area of town AND we don't get to many commissioners from/caring only about their part of town ( West, East ). The city manager tells city employees what to do right now. Not the commissioners OR Mayor. It takes 3 votes of commission to get city manager to do anything! We vote in Mayor; he and he alone is responsible to see city manager makes sure city departments are run right or not. If not, vote out Mayor and in comes one who will make city manager do his job or be fired! Less good ol' boy system and more accountability! Which means less waste of taxpayers money, less corruption and more transparency.

Change our form of government to the election of a Mayor!


friendlyjhawk 1 year ago

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


Keith 1 year 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.


wednesdayschild 1 year 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.


LadyJ 1 year 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.


Matthew Herbert 1 year ago

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


oneeye_wilbur 1 year ago

Thatb$10,000 will help him pay his new recycle fee. Social security folks barely got a 1% raise. Corliss got 8z%.

Wel, we can only hope they get rid of him. Wildgen got a raise and then got fired!


irtnog2001 1 year ago

Most of these guys also get a city vehicle or mileage allowance, cell phone, etc. , etc.l


another_concerned_parent 1 year 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.


bballwizard 1 year 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.


grandpaD 1 year 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.


cowboy 1 year 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.


jack22 1 year ago

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


jlw53 1 year 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.


Bob Forer 1 year ago

You're doing a great job, Brownie.


toe 1 year ago

The payoff for the rec center seems smallish. What did he get from the developers?


paisley 1 year 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!


1yardstare 1 year ago

Schumm rushing to cover the current commission past tracks. Take care of business before the new commissioners are elected tomorrow night. Loose lips sink ships.....


Thom 1 year ago

All salaries in Lawrence are low compared to other cities.


Dave Trabert 1 year 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


Commenting has been disabled for this item.