CARLSBAD — While some Carlsbad city employees are undergoing a pay freeze for 2011 and 2012, other Carlsbad representatives, such as the city manager and city attorney, were granted a pay increase.The reason for the disparity is the different city positions’ contracts.
“The city attorney and city manager are the only two city employees hired directly by the City Council,” said Kristina Ray, communications manager for the city of Carlsbad. “They each have their own employment agreement.”
Ray pointed out that the city just doesn’t have one contract for all city employees.
“Instead, the city of Carlsbad has different groups of represented employees, each with their own contract specifying compensation,” she said.
These groups are the Carlsbad City Employees’ Association, Carlsbad Firefighters’ Association, Carlsbad Police Officers’ Association, and Carlsbad Police Management Association.
Managers do not take part in an employee association.
The employees who experienced the recent, two-year pay freeze fall under the Carlsbad City Employees’ Association, and are known as general employees.
City Manager Lisa Hildabrand, who has been employed with the city for 20 years, received her 6 percent increase toward the end of 2011. This brings her current annual salary up to $230,492. Ray said that Hildabrand has not received a pay raise since being appointed as city manager in 2008. At that time she received a contract.
The contract specified when the city manager would receive salary increases, Ray said, and how the amount would be determined.
“The city manager was eligible for a salary increase in 2009 and 2010 and declined to take it,” she said.
Employed with the city of Carlsbad for the past 25 years, City Attorney Ronald Ball received 4-1 City Council approval in March for a 7 percent increase. Councilwoman Farrah Douglas cast the opposing vote. Ball’s new annual salary stands at $252,992. Ray said his last increase was for 2 percent back in 2008.
Hildabrand’s recent salary increase didn’t require a council vote because the terms were in her current contract.
In addition to Hildabrand and Ball, city management employees earned a 3 percent raise in December 2011. It’s estimated that 118 individuals fell under this category.
General employees, who are not part of management or public safety, are typically on a lower pay scale.
The wage freeze for this contract group was initiated and approved in June 2011.
Ray wants people to know that looking at the chart reflecting the “History of Salary Increases and Retirement Contributions” from 2008 to today, sheds more light on the topic.
“When you look at one snapshot in time, you could see one group get an increase when another did not,” she said, adding, “but when you look at the past several years you can see a more accurate picture of how the city is compensating its employees.”
Staff shared that general employees received a 3.2 percent raise during the consecutive years of 2008, 2009 and 2010.