The City Council gave a pay raise to its housing manager, who is a finalist for a job in Hawthorne, in an effort to keep her.
However, the raise of almost 20%, from $4,354 to $5,210 a month, takes effect regardless of whether Housing Manager Phyllis Baboolal stays on with Culver City.
"We are competing with other communities for help, for good people," Councilman Richard Alexander said, arguing that the higher salary is necessary.
Baboolal said she is one of two finalists for the job of housing director in Hawthorne. She said the Hawthorne job would pay $66,000 a year; the Culver City raise puts her at $62,520.
Baboolal's old salary was lower than what Hawthorne, Santa Monica, Inglewood and Pasadena offer for similar posts, according to a Culver City Community Development Department report. The pay raise puts Culver City second among those cities, below Hawthorne.
Baboolal, Culver City's housing manager for seven years, said that she would like to stay in the city but that salary is an important consideration.
Councilman Steven Gourley said he hopes that the raise will induce Baboolal to stay. "I don't want to spend the cost of recruiting . . . of breaking in a (new) person as to where Culver City is and what its needs are," he said.
Councilman James Boulgarides, who opposed the raise, said the nearly 20% increase is a "quantitative leap" that "isn't the right message, as far as managing the city." The housing manager will earn more than the city planner, Boulgarides said, questioning whether "the position is worth more than the city planner is."
In about two months, the City Council will be given an analysis of the salaries of nearly all city employees, said Personnel Manager Gordon Youngs.