Wichita City Manager Bob Layton got his first raise in four years Tuesday morning, an 8 percent pay hike that will boost his annual salary to around $205,000 a year.
The raise, delayed three years by the economic downturn and the city’s financial problems, increases Layton’s $189,625 annual salary by $15,170 to $204,795.
It came after City Council members delivered a broad range of praise for the Iowan’s work reshaping city services to fit revenue declines.
“When we hired him, we had some challenges,” Mayor Carl Brewer said, wryly acknowledging that he supported Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan in the selection process four years ago.
The laughter grew as Brewer addressed Layton as “George Layton,” combining the city manager’s name with that of his predecessor, George Kolb.
“Now, I’m not going to admit I was wrong …” the mayor said about his Buchanan support, to laughter from the bench. “You’ve done a great job, Bob. You are well deserving of the raise. We do appreciate your patience with us and the citizens.”
Layton told the council he was proud of the accomplishments of staff, but passed on the chance to talk about himself.
“An old city manager said not to speak unless spoken to, and I don’t want to mess this up,” he said. “I want to thank the council for its support. I hope you feel we’ve developed a good partnership in terms of trying to move forward and improve our services.”
Council members roundly praised Layton for his work, both financially and reshaping the city’s service operation.
“I can only hope I figure out as many things around you as you have,” Vice Mayor Janet Miller said.
And they praised Layton’s easy-going management style.
“I have found you to be a very open and responsive person,” Miller said. “You’ve shown the ability to build many teams and build consensus, not only internal consensus but consensus in the community.”
“I could go on and on,” council member James Clendenin said. “As we go around the country and see how other cities are run … you can see what Bob has accomplished.”
The details of the raise were released late Monday afternoon by city officials in an agenda report that was not included when the City Council agenda report was released late last week.
Included with the raise details was a two-page list of the city manager’s accomplishments, many cited by council members Tuesday.