News Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Saugatuck grants manager 10-percent raise, praise

By Scott Sullivan
Editor
Saugatuck City Council Feb. 27 unanimously approved a $10,500 pay increase for City Manager Ryan Heise, bringing him to $110,500 yearly.
The 10-percent hike following council’s review of third-year manager’s 2022 job performance. Members based it on 10 key metrics including customer service, organization, financial management, planning, leadership and communication.
Heise also provided his own self-assessment and outlined goals and objectives for 2023.
Council also used independent search firm Walsh Municipal Services to provide comparative city manager salary data from six other Lake Michigan communities. That analysis found Heise’s previous salary roughly 9 percent lower than the average of his peers.
“Our evaluation,” said Mayor Scott Dean, “found Ryan exceeding expectations by most measures and I was pleased that we were unanimous in our decision.
“The city has great faith in Ryan and his team at City Hall and our action sends a clear message that Saugatuck is determined to compete for and retain the best talent in the state.”
The University of Michigan last month released a survey that found 60 percent of municipalities were having problems recruiting and retaining employees with skills needed to operate their local government. (closup.umich.edu/michigan-public-policy-survey/110/michigan-local-government-leaders-report-increased-problems-workforce-recruitment)
In the wake of sudden city staff firings elsewhere after recent elections, council also amended the termination clause in Heise’s contract to award him one month of pay for every year of service up to 12 months should a future council move to end his contract. Heise had previously been operating under a six-month severance pay contract.
A copy of Heise’s consolidated evaluation signed by the council is available at city hall.

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