Carolina Public Press: Breaking Down Municipal Staff Salaries of WNC Cities and Towns, Part 1

Published Friday, March 24, 2017 at 10:52 am

BY MICHAEL GEBELEIN / Carolina Public Press

For many municipalities in Western North Carolina, the salaries of their employees make up the largest line item in the budget.

Some smaller towns and villages in the region employ only one or two full-time workers, while larger cities often have substantial staffs. Carolina Public Press requested salary records for the 10 highest-paid employees and for members of the governing board for more than 50 towns and cities in WNC. An analysis of that data for the 17 WNC cities with a population greater than 4,000 — from Asheville, at almost 91,000 people, to Franklin, with a population of less than 4,100 — is below.

Of the 10 highest paid municipal employees in the region, eight work in Asheville. City manager Gary Jackson’s salary of $190,452 per year is the highest overall in WNC. The managers of the second- and third-largest cities in the region, Boone and Morganton, round out the top 10 — Boone’s John Ward III at $136,864 per year and Morganton’s Sally Sandy at $132,999 per year.

The City of Asheville also leads the region in its pay for police chiefs. Tamara Hooper, hired as police chief in 2015 after serving in police administration in Alexandria, Virginia, is paid $160,463 annually, more than double Boone police chief Dana Crawford’s $79,609 per year as the top law enforcement officer in the region’s second-largest city. Brevard’s Phil Harris is the second-highest-paid police chief in WNC, at $93,799 per year.

Few cities reported giving employees large bonuses or allowances. Boone pays a $6,000 annual car allowance its town manager and a $5,000 car allowance to Assistant Town Manager James Bryne Jr.

Brevard City Manager Jim Fatland is paid a $2,400 annual allowance. Morganton reported paying each of its top 10 employees thousands of dollars in allowances and longevity pay. Sandy, the city manager, is given a $4,200 annual car allowance and $4,655 in longevity pay, in addition to her $132,999 salary. Development and Design Director Phillip Lookadoo, Assistant City Manager Sonja Marston and Parks and Recreation Director Robert Winkler each also receive nearly $4,000 in car allowance payments.

Most cities also pay the members of the town council a small salary. Of the largest cities in the region, only Canton, with a population of 4,275, according to the North Carolina League of Municipalities, doesn’t pay its town council.

Asheville has the highest-paid council in the region, with Mayor Esther Manheimer receiving $21,263 annually. Vice mayor Gwen Wisler is paid $17,646 per year and the rest of the council receives $15,621 each. Marion Mayor Steve Little is paid $9,490 per year, but also receives more than $5,500 in benefits including insurance and travel and technology allowances. The members of the Marion council receive $5,707 per year but are also each paid an additional $5,500, making them the highest-paid council in the region, behind Asheville. The mayors of Waynesville, Hendersonville, Boone, Fletcher and Forest City each receive between $10,000 and $13,000 per year.

At the other end of the spectrum, the members of the councils in Spindale and Woodfin, other than the town mayors, are each paid $2,400 per year. Rutherfordton’s council members are the lowest-paid in the region, receiving $1,500 per year.

Elected official salaries and top 10 employee salaries for each WNC municipality of more than 4,000 population

(population based on 2015 state demographer’s estimate)

ASHEVILLE (POPULATION 90,918, BUNCOMBE COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $21,263.84, plus $238,27 travel allowance; Vice mayor, $17,646.46 plus $172.12 travel allowance; 5 council members, $15,621.84, plus $172.12 travel allowance
  • Gary Jackson, city manager, $190,452.78, plus $276.93 car allowance
  • Robin Currin, city attorney, $177,700.14, plus $92.31 car allowance
  • Paul Fetherston, assistant city manager, $169,084.38, plus $230.77 car allowance
  • Tamara Hooper, chief of police, $160,463.75
  • Cathy Ball, assistant city manager, $160,099.05, plus $230.77 car allowance
  • Margaret Rowe, human resources director, $137,500, plus $138.46 car allowance and $1,000 monthly housing allowance
  • Jade Dundas, interim capital projects director, $134,582.50
  • Barbara Whitehorn, finance officer, $129,654.71, plus $92.31 car allowance.
  • Jonathan Feldman, chief information officer, $127,576.51, plus $92.31 car allowance
  • Kenneth Putnam, transportation director, $126,224.15, plus $186.62 car allowance

BLACK MOUNTAIN (POPULATION 8,384, BUNCOMBE COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $9,339.72; Vice mayor, $6,342; 4 aldermen, $6,342
  • Matthew Settlemyer, town manager, $124,269.38
  • Steven Luebee, assistant town manager, finance director, $86,375.14, plus $863.75 bonus
  • Steven Jones, fire chief, $73,585.86, plus $735.85
  • Joshua Harrold, director of planning, $71,541.69, plus $715.42 bonus
  • Robin Austin, interim chief of police, $66,307.33, plus $663.07 bonus
  • Jamey Matthews, director of public services, $66,306.20, plus $663.06 bonus
  • William White, director of water quality, $65,250.85
  • James Conner, director of recreation $64,969.50, plus $649.70 bonus
  • Daniel Cordell, building inspector, $59,421.27, plus $594.21 bonus
  • John Wilson, deputy fire chief, $56,859.87, plus $568.60 bonus

BOONE (POPULATION 18,553, WATAUGA COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $10,503; Mayor pro-tem and 4 council members, $6,798
  • John Ward III, town manager, $136,864, plus $6,000 car allowance
  • James Bryne Jr., assistant town manager, $95,492, plus $5,000 car allowance
  • Ricky Miller, public works director, $95,023
  • Peri Moretz, human resources director, $87,007
  • Amy Davis, finance director, $84,640
  • James Isaacs, fire chief, $82,082
  • Dana Crawford, chief of police, $79,609
  • Eric Gustaveson, deputy public works director, $73,618
  • Jane Shook, planning director, $72,222
  • Andrew LeBeau, police captain, $70,612

BREVARD (POPULATION 7,929, TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $9,158.27; 5 council members, $4,861
  • Jim Fatland, city manager, $121,004, plus $2,400
  • Phil Harris, chief of police, $93,799.20
  • David Lutz, public works director, $86,746.80
  • Joshua Freeman, community development and special projects director, $81,026.25
  • Kelley Craig, human resources director, $72,000
  • Daniel Cobb, planning director, $70,137.60
  • Shawn Miller, deputy police chief, $67,413
  • Lynn Goldsmith, parks and property management director, $66,694.28
  • Desiree Perry, city clerk, $66,345.70
  • Paul Ray, senior code administration enforcement officer, $65,205

CANTON (POPULATION 4,275, HAYWOOD COUNTY)

  • Mayor and 4 aldermen are unpaid
  • Seth Hendler-Voss, town manager, $89,552
  • Bryan Whitner, chief of police, $79,550
  • Lenell Wyche, finance officer, $77,000
  • Jason Burrell, assistant town manager, $62,992
  • Tim Carver, fire chief, $51,427
  • Johnny Gibson, street superintendent, $46,991
  • Richard Hodge, water superintendent, $46,066
  • Keith Pressley, fleet manager, $44,324
  • Melissa Stinnett, deputy clerk, $43,765
  • Shawn Gaddis, police lieutenant, $40,945

FLETCHER (POPULATION 7,698, HENDERSON COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $10,323; Mayor pro-tem, $6,292; 3 council members, $6,086
  • Mark Biberdorf, town manager, $105,788.64
  • Heather Taylor, assistant town manager, $75,328.68
  • Gregory Walker, parks and recreation director, $71,329.84
  • Erik Summey, chief of police, $65,661.77
  • Cynthia Broome, tax collector, $64,077.91
  • Robert Rufa, planning director, $62,919.74
  • Ronald Davis, police captain, $58,094.24
  • Donald Pressley, public works director, $58,000
  • Jose Gutierrez Jr., police sergeant $44,575.44
  • Suzanne Norris, police sergeant $43,963.92

FOREST CITY (POPULATION 7,416, RUTHERFORD COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $10,196; Mayor pro-tem and 4 commissioners $7,796
  • John Condrey, city manager, $114,595
  • Jay Jackson, chief of police, $91,035
  • Stewart Briscoe, public services director, $85,554
  • Roxanne Stiles, finance director, $75,435
  • Barry Spurlin, electric superintendent, $69,035
  • Jody Wright, parks and recreation director, $68,942
  • Bruce Ownbey, information technology administrator, $67,032
  • Ferrell Hamrick, fire chief, $66,300
  • Jeff Dotson, treatment plant superintendent, $63,839
  • Jimmy Clay, building and zoning administration, $63,835

FRANKLIN (POPULATION 4,059, MACON COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $7,200; Vice mayor $4,800; 5 aldermen, $3,600
  • Summer Woodard, town manager, $86,699.98
  • Jay Gibson, public works director, $75,048.69
  • Kevin Rhorer, fire chief, $72,455
  • David Adams, chief of police, $71,163.50
  • Kyra Doster, finance officer, $66,176.10
  • Justin Setser, town planner, $57,601.44
  • Rob Hartsell, water plant ORC, $56,296.24
  • Steve Apel, police captain $55,182.82
  • Danny Bates, police captain $55,181.88
  • Bill Deal, wastewater plant ORC, $53,882.61

HENDERSONVILLE (POPULATION 13,137, HENDERSON COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $12,000; 4 council members, $6,000
  • John Connet, city manager, $124,000
  • Samuel Fritschner, city attorney, $121,800.90
  • Edward Smith, utilities director, $105,923.23
  • Brent Detwiler, city engineer, $94,365.29
  • Lisa White, finance director, $92,733.56
  • Jerry Wooten, public works director, $83,256.93
  • Herbert Blake, chief of police, $83,055.51
  • Susan Frady, development assistance director, $82,200
  • Joseph Vindigni, fire chief, $73,500
  • Brendan Shanahan, civil engineer, $72,650.65

MARION (POPULATION 8,117, MCDOWELL COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $9,490 plus $5,640 medical insurance, travel and technology costs; Mayor pro-tem and 4 council members, $5,707 plus $5,640 for medical insurance, travel and technology costs
  • Robert Boyette, city manager, $107,474
  • Brant Sikes, public works director, $78,146
  • Allen Lawrence, chief of police, $76,502
  • Larry Carver, water treatment superintendent, $75,712
  • Julie Scherer, finance director, $72,010
  • Heather Cotton, planning and development director, $63,190
  • Jim Neal, fire chief, $57,096
  • Scott Costner, utility maintenance superintendent, $55,182
  • Tom Healey, public works superintendent, $54,662
  • Scott Spratt, police lieutenant, $51,418

MILLS RIVER (POPULATION 7,222, HENDERSON COUNTY)

  • Mayor, mayor pro-tem and 3 council members, $3,136.98
  • Jeffrey Wells, town manager, $76,885.20
  • Patricia Christie, park director, $53,217.51
  • Susan Powell, town clerk, $52,897.08
  • Aurelie Taylor, tax collector, $46,565.32
  • Jesse James, planning and zoning officer, $45,000
  • Patty Brown, administrative assistant, $31,102
  • Edward Salley, fire inspector, $25,000
  • Dale Collins, park ranger (part-time), $12.73/hour
  • Joseph Cox, park ranger (part-time), $10/hour
  • Craig Arnold, park ranger (part-time), $10.48/hour

MORGANTON (POPULATION 16,716, BURKE COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $6,926; 4 council members, $5,540 (one seat currently vacant)
  • Sally Sandy, city manager, $132,999, plus $4,200 car allowance and $4,655 for longevity
  • Louis Vinay, city attorney, $104,853, plus $2,621 for longevity
  • Phillip Lookadoo, development and design director, $97,000, plus $3,900 car allowance
  • Gregory Branch, IT and municipal cable director, $91,500, plus $2,288 longevity
  • Sonja Marston, assistant city manager, $90,869, plus $3,600 car allowance
  • Karen Duncan, finance director, $86,007, plus $3,010 for longevity
  • Robert Winkler, parks & recreation director, $85,000, plus $3,900 for car allowance
  • Joseph Lookadoo, public works director, $83,015, plus $2,906 longevity
  • Ronnie Rector, chief of police, $81,600, plus $2,856 for longevity
  • Brooks Kirby, electric services director, $81,434, $2,036 for longevity

RUTHERFORDTON (POPULATION 4,173, RUTHERFORD COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $6,000; 4 council members, $1,500
  • Douglas Barrick, town manager, $86,884.91
  • Ruben Lovelace, chief of police, $63,672
  • Charles Blanton, fire chief, $59,988
  • Donald Ward, public works director, $57,816.18
  • Thaddeu Hodge, finance director, $53,608.99
  • Ricky Gilbert, police investigator, $51,881.62
  • Clinton Ingle, patrol commander, $50,926.80
  • Harry Kempster, police investigator, $50,068.82
  • Patricia Hardin, librarian, $48,733.45
  • Kenneth Harrill, fire captain, $48,341.48

SPINDALE (POPULATION 4,318, RUTHERFORD COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $3,000; Mayor pro-tem and 4 commissioners, $2,400
  • Scott Webber, town manager, $66,660
  • Eric Shelton, chief of police, $56,090
  • Eric Swafford, finance/town clerk, $48,772
  • Jamie Guillermo, fire chief, $47,476
  • Gary Morgan, public works director, $45,369
  • Brett Hooper, police lieutenant, $42,000
  • Tom Bernard, water treatment plant superintendent, $39,187
  • Eddie Searcy, recreation director, $38,631
  • Amy Taylor, librarian, $33,925
  • Ray Terry, equipment operator, $29,453

VALDESE (POPULATION 4,442, BURKE COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $3,400; Mayor pro-tem and 4 council members, $2,800
  • Seth Eckard, town manager, $84,000.00
  • Jerry LaMaster, finance director, $77,605.00
  • Bryan Duckworth, public works director $67,859.00
  • Jack Moss, chief of police, $57,942.00
  • Greg Cannon, finance assistant/ tax collector, $56,717.00
  • Greg Padgett, wastewater plant supervisor, $56,682.00
  • Charlie Watts, fire chief, $55,186.00
  • Doug Knights, recreation director, $55,183.00
  • Chris Bortnick, lab director, $53,894.00
  • Thelda Rhoney, deputy town clerk, $52,772.00

WAYNESVILLE (POPULATION 9,916, HAYWOOD COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $12,625; Mayor pro-tem and 3 aldermen, $7,575
  • Rob Hites, town manager $125,008.00
  • David Foster, public services director, $100,914.00
  • Bill Hollingsed, chief of police, $90,306.00
  • Eddie Caldwell, finance director, $89,883.00
  • Elizabeth Teague, development services director, $79,418.00
  • Joey Webb, fire chief, $73,277.00
  • Amie Owens, assistant town manager, $68,878.00
  • Rhett Langston, parks and recreation director $68,311.00
  • Brian Beck, police captain $65,639.00
  • Preston Gregg, town engineer $62,472.00

WOODFIN (POPULATION 6,484, BUNCOMBE COUNTY)

  • Mayor, $3,600; Mayor pro-tem and 5 aldermen, $2,400
  • Jason Young, town administrator/planner, $119,854.55
  • Brett Holloman, chief of police, $93,070.74
  • Mike Dykes, police lieutenant, $81,519.48
  • Pete Messina, police sergeant, $62,194.28
  • John Ward, police officer, $60,812.40
  • Tommy Lawrence, police officer, $59,948.68
  • Jon Ammons, police detective, $58,660.56
  • Don Guge, police officer, $54,389.16
  • Johnny Brooks, public works director, $53,986
  • Chris Ammons, police sergeant, $48,399.34

 

Comments

comments

Privacy Policy | Rights & Permissions | Discussion Guidelines

Website Management by Outer Banks Media