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City officials’ salaries among highest in state

Boulder City’s top officials have higher salaries than their counterparts in many Nevada cities, according to Transparent Nevada and public records obtained by the Boulder City Review.

Looking at the salaries of city manager, city clerk, finance director, public works director, city attorney, fire chief, police chief, mayor and council members, only the mayor and council members make less than the $125,000 per year average of city leaders.

Local salaries are even higher when compared with government employees in Nevada towns of equal or slightly greater size.

Only salaries were included in the comparisons; benefits were not considered.

Boulder City employees in the nine positions stated make more money than their counterparts in Elko, Ely, Mesquite and Fernley. However, the salary differences vary with some employees in other towns making a relatively similar amount and some making significantly less.

Employee salaries for Las Vegas and Henderson were added because of their proximity to Boulder City.

The city’s highest paid employee, Boulder City Manager David Fraser, makes a yearly salary of $153,878, while Elko’s city manager makes a comparable salary of $149,872. However, Fraser makes about $40,000 more a year than Mesquite’s city manager.

Fraser’s salary is significantly less when compared with those paid in the much larger Henderson and Las Vegas. Fraser makes $78,000 less then Henderson’s city manager and $94,000 less than Las Vegas’ city manager.

The average salary for a city clerk in the six cities considered is $89,921. Boulder City Clerk Lorene Krumm makes $128,564 a year, $38,643 above the average. Krumm makes $45,538 less than Henderson’s city clerk and slightly more than Las Vegas’ city clerk’s salary of $124,938.

Boulder City Public Works Director Scott Hansen also makes significantly more than the average in the six cities. Hansen makes $141,856 a year, $34,364 more than the average of $107,492.

Although some Boulder City leaders make more than the average annual salary of other employees in the same position, some do not.

Boulder City Police Chief Timothy Shea’s salary of $125,174 is less than the average of the other police chiefs and sheriffs.

The mayor and council members also make less than the average salary of their counterparts.

Mayor Rod Woodbury makes $26,000 per year, $13,632 less than the average of $39,632. The average city council salary is $26,342 while Boulder City Council members make roughly $6,300 less than the average.

Although the council does make a bit less than the average of other councils, some Boulder City Council members make more than others. Peggy Leavitt and Rich Shuman make $20,000 a year while Duncan McCoy and Cam Walker earn $11,202. Leavitt and Shuman make more because of a 2015 vote to raise council salaries. McCoy and Walker cannot receive those raises until their current terms are up because they were part of the council that voted to raise council members’ salaries. Shuman and Leavitt were elected after the 2015 vote.

Only the $20,000 salary was added into the average since that will be the future pay for all council members next term.

The salaries of city leaders, with the exception of the mayor and council members, are more than double the $55,583 average median household income of a Boulder City resident, according to the Census Bureau.

However, department heads in the other six towns from Mesquite to Las Vegas make comfortably more than their city’s average income.

In fact, a municipal employee in another city said they used Boulder City’s salaries as a standard for fair compensation.

“We actually use Boulder City as a comparable to the type of salaries we give our employees,” said Shanell Owen, Elko’s city clerk. “Our population of 20,000 people is near Boulder City’s population (of 15,000).”

For example, there is less than a $5,000 difference of the salaries of both areas’ city manager and police chief.

Other cities, including Ely, do not use Boulder City as a standard, either because of population or budget constraints.

Ely Deputy Clerk Jennifer Lee said they use their own advisers to discuss salaries.

“Our employee salaries are discussed through the consultation of council liaisons or during an open meeting,” Lee said.

Fraser did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and while Woodbury referred questions on the matter to Fraser he did say that he believed the city was on par with comparable cities and that many salaries were determined through the collective bargaining process with unions.

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster @bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

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