HALLOWELL — Two weeks after some councilors expressed their confidence in City Manager Nate Rudy, the City Council voted to approve a new three-year contract with him that includes a 5% raise.

The approval came despite a dissenting vote from a councilor who was interim city manager before Rudy and revealed tax increment financing errors in April, which has held up the budget-crafting process for the next fiscal year.

After Monday’s 40-minute executive session, the council voted 6-1 to approve the new contract, with Councilor Maureen Aucoin voting against the motion.

The closed session, which is commonly invoked to discuss detailed staff performance matters, followed another executive session on a property tax abatement, after which Rudy exited the council chamber, entered his nearby office and turned on a white-noise machine. Councilors ended the executive session and immediately voted on the contract.

The agreement states Rudy’s weekly salary will be $1,366.32 — or $71,048 annually. Rudy could earn a 3% raise in June 2020 and a 2.7% raise in June 2021 after a “satisfactory performance evaluation.” According to a draft budget circulated on June 10, Rudy’s salary was $67,500 in fiscal year 2017, $67,550 in fiscal year 2018 and $67,626 in fiscal year 2019.

Councilor George Lapointe said Rudy received a satisfactory performance evaluation in December 2018, which was factored into his salary increase. He said a cost-of-living increase like what other city employees are given also was included.

“He’s been here a long time and he’s learned a lot,” Lapointe said. “He got a good review last year.”

The discovery of errors in the tax increment financing district stem from comments made by Aucoin in April, when she said more than $200,000 in property tax revenue was sent to the general fund instead of being sheltered for projects denoted as part of the city’s Downtown TIF District. Further uncertainty about how some numbers from the city’s TIF districts have held up the second reading of next fiscal year’s budget while the city’s Finance Committee and the city staff find answers.

When asked if errors with the city’s TIF district and a mistake when city officials forgot and double-counted revenue in the fiscal year 2019 budget came up during the discussion, Lapointe said the council discussed “successes and weaknesses.” He said the council’s final vote was indicative of the council’s support for Rudy.

Aucoin — a former city assessor’s agent and interim city manager before Rudy took over in 2016 — said Tuesday she was “unable to comment” because the “executive session concerning personnel must remain confidential.”

Last month, Aucoin also declined to comment on the performance of city staff members.

Councilor Patrick Wynne and Mayor Mark Walker said last month they were confident in Rudy and city staff’s ability to perform their jobs after tax-increment financing errors have caused uncertainty in next year’s budget.

Walker and Councilors Diano Circo, Kate Dufour, Michael Frett and Wynne did not respond Tuesday to two requests seeking general comment on Rudy’s re-appointment. Councilor Kara Walker, the chairwoman of the Personnel Committee, which initially reviewed the contract before Monday’s meeting, declined to comment, citing stress at her day job.

Rudy’s contract entitles him to 20 days of vacation time, fringe benefits and “expenses incurred in connection” with professional development as long as they do not exceed $3,500. The new contract begins on Friday and expires on June 13, 2022. After two years, the contract will be renegotiated. Rudy said Tuesday that the new contract does not have any “big changes” from his current contract, other than the salary increase.

Rudy said Tuesday it would difficult be to set “ironclad three-year goals,” but he said he is looking forward to revising the city’s comprehensive plan and working on day-to-day affairs for City Hall staff. He said he was happy with what the City Council and the staff have accomplished in his three years as manager, citing $4.3 million in infrastructure projects and working on ordinances and policies “that will ultimately strengthen the city” as specific things to be proud of.

Because Rudy is paid a salary, time worked is not recorded like that of an hourly position. The contract states “it is understood that on an occasional, reasonable basis, the Employee may take occasional and reasonable time off during business hours of City Hall in pursuit of personal activities” but those departures should not interfere with quality and quantity of work by the city manager.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.