Las Vegas Sun

July 21, 2019

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Las Vegas city manager gets $38,500 raise

Mayor Carolyn Goodman and John Lee

Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell speaks during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Henderson.

Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell received her second raise in less than a year today. The City Council voted to increase her pay by $38,500 to bring it in line with the salaries of city managers in other similarly sized cities.

The pay increase, which was framed by the city as a “market-rate adjustment,” comes 10 months after Fretwell got a $20,000 performance raise, equal to about 10 percent of her salary at the time.

With both increases, Fretwell, who has been city manager for six years, will receive a base salary of $260,000 a year, plus nearly $100,000 more in other pay and benefits.

The council approved the increase on a 6-1 vote, with all but Councilman Bob Beers supporting the raise, which is retroactive to April.

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian praised the job Fretwell has done after taking over the city’s day-to-day operations in the heart of the recession.

The economic turmoil led to cuts in staff and services, but the city has been on the recovery recently, managing to balance its budget without dipping into reserves each of the last three years.

“We’ve had a remarkable recovery,” Tarkanian said. “We don’t want to lose” Fretwell.

The raise makes Fretwell’s salary the second highest among government managers in the valley, trailing Clark County Manager Don Burnette’s base salary of $262,597. Burnette also oversees McCarran International Airport and University Medical Center.

Outgoing Henderson City Manager Jacob Snow receives a base salary of $225,000 a year, while North Las Vegas City Manager Qiong Liu makes $190,000 annually.

Fretwell’s salary is still slightly below the average of $276,974 paid to city managers in comparable cities such as Phoenix, Dallas, San Jose, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo., according to a survey by Las Vegas human resources staff.

Beers, the lone opponent to the raise, called the salary comparison “significantly flawed” because it failed to account for retirement benefits.

He also criticized Fretwell’s raise of about 18 percent of her previous salary as much larger than the 1 to 2 percent rank-and-file employees have been receiving.

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