City Manager Nick Hernandez received a $13,500 raise in base pay after a unanimous vote by the City Commission on Dec. 20.

ark-city-logoThe raise places his base pay at $108,000 annually, from $94,500. By comparison, newly hired Winfield city manager Jeremy Willmoth is slated to make $119,000 when he begins working Feb. 1, 2017.

It was one part of the third amendment to his employment contract, which also included a few other changes.

Hernandez did not receive a merit increase in the last two years. In fact, the second amendment of his contract stated he would not receive merit increases until January 2020.

The draft of the third amendment included in the packet for the Dec. 20 meeting shows that Hernandez was set to receive a 2.5-percent cost-of-living increase for each of the last two years, which would have put his new salary at approximately $99,230 per year.

The new agreement also gives Hernandez the ability to “buy back” up to four weeks of accrued and unused vacation each year, at the mayor’s discretion. The reason cited is that his job duties may leave him too busy to actually use all of the vacation he has earned.

In addition, the city “shall automatically buy back” his vacation as it accrues when he reaches the maximum accrual under the city handbook.

Starting today, Hernandez will accrue vacation, sick leave and other paid time off at the same rate as if he had worked for the city for 16 years.

The amendment also contains provisions for the buyback of Hernandez’s KPERS benefits, allowing deposits into his Section 457 account. This practice was authorized in the second amendment, signed in February 2015, but not enacted until now.

The motion by Mayor Duane Oestmann to award the raise passed 4-0 after a 15-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.