The city attorney, responding to a citizen's inquiry about a $5,000 bonus given to City Manager Herman R. Fast last year, said the bonus was legal because the city's salary ordinance includes built-in incentives for exemplary service.
Attorney Colin Lennard said a state prohibition against giving extra compensation to city officials for completed work does not apply to Fast's bonus.
"This does not amount to a gift," Lennard said.
Resident Jean Arneson had questioned the bonus, citing a passage in the state Constitution that says: "A local government body may not grant extra compensation to a public officer, public employee or contractor after service has been rendered or contract entered into and performed in whole or in part."
Mayor Nancy Manners and Councilman Robert Bacon defended the bonus, saying it cost the city less than a permanent pay raise and allowed the city to recognize Fast's exemplary service last year.
"There's nothing like bucks to show your appreciation," Bacon said.
Fast's annual salary is $92,436.