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Council Gives Hawkey $11,000 Merit Raise : Government: The city manager's pay will increase 9% despite some members' criticism of his performance.


The City Council voted in closed session Tuesday to award city manager Philip Hawkey a merit bonus of more than $11,000.

Council members, some of whom have been critical of Hawkey in the past, would not comment on their deliberations except to say that the vote was an endorsement of the city manager's work during the last year.

"You can deduce from the vote that it was a favorable review," Councilman William Thomson said.

Council members would not reveal the vote tally, but it was not unanimous.

The vote for a 9% merit award, or $11,077, came shortly after a tense discussion in open session of Mayor Jess Hughston's letter of apology to Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block for remarks made by council members about allegedly racist sheriff's deputies.

Councilman Chris Holden had raised the possibility of firing Hawkey for his role in sending the letter, which Holden said could have been a violation of the Brown Act and the City Charter.

Holden said Wednesday that he was under constraints about discussing an issue that had been decided in closed session, but he conceded that he had voted against the bonus.

"I feel that bonuses should be given to those who are meritorious in the work they perform," Holden said. "I don't feel that's the case with the city manager."

Holden said he was particularly disappointed by Hawkey's slowness in implementing a wide-ranging human services program, which the council endorsed about the time the city manager was hired.

Hawkey arrived in the city a year and a half ago on a wave of controversy. To the outrage of minority groups in the city, Hawkey, then city manager of Toledo, Ohio, was chosen for the $119,500-a-year job over two black candidates.

Hawkey received a rich package of benefits, including a $500-a-month automobile allowance, generous severance benefits, 60 days annual sick leave and 20 days annual vacation. A month after he arrived in Pasadena, the city became part owner of his $615,000 home on East Arroyo, investing $377,000.

In February, the council raised his annual pay to $123,085.

Holden said he was concerned about granting a large bonus because of the current economic climate. "These are hard times," Holden said. "People are being laid off, fired. The climate is certainly not appropriate to start focusing on those kinds of bonuses."

Other council members see bonuses as votes of confidence in top city administrators. "If you don't get a 7% or better, you shouldn't be working for the city," Vice Mayor Rick Cole said last summer.

Under personnel guidelines, the council could have given Hawkey a bonus of from 0% to 12%, city officials said. Hawkey's predecessor, Donald McIntyre, regularly received 7% to 9%.

City Atty. Victor Kaleta said that Hawkey can take the merit award as a lump sum, as additions to his paycheck or as enriched benefits. Hawkey said he had no comment.

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