NSB approves raises for city manager, city attorney and city clerk – Daytona Beach News-Journal

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — In order to remain competitive in the hiring market, the City Commission approved on Tuesday salary increases of up to 27% for three top city employees.
City Manager Khalid Resheidat’s salary increased by 16%, from $158,908 to $185,676; City Attorney Carrie Avallone’s salary increased by 18%, from $151,410 to $179,000; and City Clerk Kelly McQuillen’s salary increased by 27.8%, from $76,693 to $97,988.
Heather Kidd, the city’s human resources director, conducted a survey on the current salaries for the same positions in other Volusia County cities. She presented her findings before the City Commission on Tuesday. 
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Kidd explained that the proposed compression adjustments for the fiscal year 2022-23 budget for the city manager and city attorney salaries (an increase of 3%) would not be sufficient to put the city among the top-paying cities in the county.
With the 3% increase, the $163,676 city manager salary would rank 11th out of 14, behind Holly Hill’s $163,738. The city attorney’s $155,952 would be fourth behind Ormond Beach’s $182,686.
Keeping New Smyrna Beach competitive in the market is the main reason behind the increases, Kidd said.
In the city attorney’s case, for instance, the new salary would not change the city’s position in the county ranking, “but I think it would bring us a little more in line with what the rest of our county is doing, especially when we are looking at the market.”
According to Kidd’s survey report, the new $179,000 figure would still put the New Smyrna Beach city attorney in fourth, behind Ormond Beach.
“Should we have to make any changes and have to recruit, we would be looking at something in that range to be able to employ.”
Kidd also explained that to determine the new salary figures, the city usually compares itself with other cities of similar population and staff size.
“A lot of times, we do compare ourselves to Ormond (Beach),” Kidd said. “They are the closest in population to us, the closest in staffing to us — that is usually the area where we look at. We run our cities very similarly.”
The city manager’s increase to $185,000, however, would move the city from 11th to third in the county ranking, behind Ormond Beach ($199,845) in second and Daytona Beach in first ($275,281).
According to the 2020 Census data, the New Smyrna Beach population is approximately 31,100, while Ormond Beach has roughly 43,500 residents and Daytona Beach 74,400.
The city clerk’s increase comes from the compression study for next year’s budget.
“We feel that this is acceptable at this time,” Kidd said. “Comparing us to Ormond Beach, their city clerk will be making $103,584 (in the 2022-23 budget). So we feel like, at this time, there is no other additional increases that we would put onto the city clerk position, because our pay grade structure made that bring us within the market value that we needed.”
Because the city clerk’s adjustment is already part of the next year’s budget, the City Commission only voted on the city manager’s and city attorney’s increases.
Mayor Russ Owen said that he has experience working in the finance area, where people are used to seeing salary numbers fluctuate, and that he “fully supports” the adjustments.
“I don’t think they are overpaid,” Owen said. “These are big numbers, and I get it, if you are not used to seeing these numbers, that is big money. But in the context of what they are responsible for and the job market as it is, it is really actually not.”
He added: “We have, roughly, 300 employees, $100 million budget, 30,000 stakeholders in any given moment that want a piece of our city manager and city attorney. They work for five independent bosses that change every two years.”
Commissioner Michael Kolody said that he supports the increases, but emphasized that the City Commission will be tasked with finding the funds for them in next year’s budget.
“I have no problem with the raises that are proposed,” he said. “I am glad the methodology was applied equally to all three employees. I think they all deserve it.”
Vice Mayor Jason McGuirk agreed with Owen and Kolody, adding that “the city manager, the city attorney, and the city clerk have all done amazing jobs.”
Commissioner Jake Sachs voted against the raises, arguing that he would like to see next year’s millage rate set before making the adjustments in the budget.
He also suggested staggering the increases over three years “to make that blow a little softer for the taxpayer and the city.”
Kidd explained that while his suggestion wasn’t a bad idea, moving with the adjustments now would help the city avoid the compression adjustments that could be generated by market changes, which would force the city to consider salary adjustments for every fiscal year.
“If we spread that out, I worry that I will just be coming back to you saying, ‘I have to add a little more, I need to add a little more,’” Kidd said. “If we are able to (make the adjustments) this year, it would be much better budget preparation for later years.”
The City Commission voted 3-1 on the measure, with Sachs opposing. Commissioner Randy Hartman did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.


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