The city manager for the largest of the Tri-Cities remains the one with the least pay.
Kennewick City Council this week approved a merit raise for City Manager Marie Mosley in a 6-1 vote.
That takes Mosley from last year's salary of $151,600 to $159,100 this year.
Kennewick Mayor Steve Young told the council Mosley earned the full 5 percent raise allowed in her contract because she met 96 percent of the goals she and the council set.
Kennewick has used a merit based approach on pay increases for noncontract employees and the city manager for three years, Young said. Mosley has a contract.
Other contract employees receive step increases and cost of living increases, Mosley said.
The idea for merit pay raises is something Mayor Pro Tem Don Britain brought to council four years ago. Britain said he thinks employees should be rewarded based on what they do.
Councilman John Trumbo, who voted against the raise, said Mosley is the best city manager he's seen in the four decades he was a newspaper reporter before retiring last year.
But he said he thinks that every job should have some sort of ceiling and not accumulate each year in an unreasonable manner.
Pay increases should be for only what is above and beyond and should not be based on what is paid to executives of comparable agencies, Trumbo said.
Young said putting a limit on pay can make it difficult to bring in and keep employees with unique talents and abilities.
And the pay increase already was based on Mosley's performance for above and beyond goals, he said.
Councilman Bob Parks said, "I think she has done a pretty good job for the most part. Nobody's perfect." She is available and easy to approach, he added.
Richland City Manager Cindy Johnson received a 2.5 percent raise to her base salary, which is $157,300 this year. She also was awarded a $10,000 bonus in December, bringing her to $163,400 for salary and merit pay in 2013.
Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield received an $8,000 performance bonus in January for last year's work. His base pay is about $161,200, so the merit award increases his payment this year to more than $169,000.
Young took issue with a city of Pasco staff report that was presented to the Pasco council before deciding on Crutchfield's bonus. The report wrongly shows Mosley's full compensation was $19,000 higher than she actually is paid, he said.
Terry Walsh, Kennewick's director of employee and community relations, said the city tries to have salaries stay in the 60th percentile of comparative cities. And in 2012 when non-contract employees receive a maximum performance increase of 3 percent, Mosley asked for her pay increase to be capped at the same amount.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org