Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer released a statement to explain why the former city manager’s salary was significantly higher in 2018.
“When council received notice that the long-term city manager (Craig Curtis) intended to retire, council was made aware that there would be increased, one-time costs due to retirement, especially given the length of his service.
“Where possible, council made every effort to reduce the costs associated with his retirement,” Veer said in the statement.
Curtis, whose salary was more than $400,000 in 2018, had a contract that bound council to certain financial obligations upon his retirement or leaving the position, the mayor said.
The former city manager gave notice for formal retirement for July 31,2018, but with recruitment for a replacement expected to take up to a year, council negotiated a temporary six-month contract, effective Sept. 1, 2018.
“With this new contract, council took the opportunity to reduce the salary and other associated benefits historically associated with the position, which better positioned city council to negotiate future city manager contracts more cost effectively,” said Veer.
To manage the impact on both the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the retirement and other related costs (such as vacation payout, pension, etc.) for Curtis are spread over two years.
In 2018, the one-time costs related to the outgoing city manager are $193,000, and in 2019, it will be $220,000.
“The taxpayer will see the full correction to the city manager’s position ongoing compensation in the 2020 financial statements, due to a renegotiated salary for the new city manager to be in step with other public sector positions of this nature.”
The new city manager, Allan Seabrooke, will have a salary of $235,000, with other reduced benefits. This is a reduction from previous years to “reflect the challenging economic reality our community is facing,” said Veer.
Seabrooke was most recently chief administrative officer and commissioner of community services with the City of Peterborough.