The Pasco City Council passed on an opportunity to give City Manager Gary Crutchfield a performance bonus at its Monday meeting.
The council has frequently given Crutchfield bonuses in recent years, including an additional $12,000 in January 2013.
But Mayor Matt Watkins said after the meeting that he asked other council members if they wanted to give Crutchfield a bonus during a 15-minute closed review session, and they did not.
The council might revisit the bonus when Councilmen Al Yenney, who was on vacation, and Bob Hoffmann, who was out sick, return, Watkins said.
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"It think it is important for all council members to weigh in," he said.
Yenney and Hoffmann were the two council members to oppose a bonus for Crutchfield last year, though both said at the time that they felt the city manager was doing a good job. Yenney said he would rather see a cap lifted on Crutchfield's salary, and Hoffmann suggested a smaller bonus.
Councilman Tom Larsen, who went on to campaign against Crutchfield's bonus in his re-election bid, did not attend the meeting last year where Crutchfield's bonus was approved by a 4-2 vote.
Crutchfield has a base salary of $161,196 in 2014, up from $153,636 last year.
Richland City Manager Cindy Johnson had a base salary of $153,400 in 2013, while Kennewick City Manager Marie Mosley was paid $151,600, according to Herald archives. Both have served as city managers for more than 20 fewer years than Crutchfield.
Pasco resident John Talbott, a vocal critic of bonuses in Pasco government, said earlier in the meeting that the city has awarded more than $1 million in merit awards since 2000.
"There isn't another city in the state of Washington that comes near to that kind of generous program," said Talbott, a former Spokane mayor. "I commend you for being able to spend the taxpayers' money that way."
Crutchfield was not surprised the council did not award a bonus with two members absent, he said.
"That's up to them," Crutchfield said.
-- The council voted to give Watkins and Mayor Pro-Tem Rebecca Francik additional two-year terms in their positions. Larsen asked that the vote be put off until Yenney and Hoffmann return, but Crutchfield said state law requires the votes to be made at the council's first meeting of the year. Watkins said the meeting could not be pushed back since council had not met in three weeks.
-- The council approved a zoning change to allow a new subdivision planned for an area that is now part of a crop circle running along Convention Drive between the city limits to the north and Sandifur Parkway to the south. Crutchfield said the 50-acre development, just east of bustling Road 68, will have lower-density homes to the north and multi-family units on its south end.
"I would guess there would probably be some duplexes or low-density apartments," he said.
-- The council approved a special permit for a detached garage higher than city regulations normally allow for Daniel Martinez at 5417 Dradie St. Councilman Saul Martinez, a relative of the applicant, recused himself from the 4-0 vote.
-- The council approved two new union contracts. A contract for more than 60 public works and facilities maintenance employees will give them 1 percent raises in 2014 and 2015. A contract for six code enforcement officers and permit technicians will include 1-percent raises in 2014 and 2015, as well as a retroactive 1.5 percent raise for 2013. Crutchfield said both groups will also now use the health insurance plan that the city's non-union employees have.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom