Richfield city manager gets raise, but takes less than offered

Steve Devich

Following his annual performance review, Richfield City Manager Steve Devich insisted the city council give him less of a raise than initially offered.

After adjourning to a closed session during its May 24 meeting, the city council returned with a plan to issue a 3.75 percent raise. Devich asked for 2.75 percent instead.

“That’s the base adjustment that other city employees got,” Devich explained. “They got 2.75, then I should get 2.75.”

Considering his annual salary of about $162,000, Devich is giving up a about $1,600.

He explained that wage competition between cities was part of his reasoning for taking less than offered.

“We only have so much money to spread around, Devich said. “We’re never going to be the top-paying city, but we can’t afford to be the bottom paying city so people steal our staff.”

Before the council agreed to raise Devich’s annual salary by 2.75 percent, the performance review also served as a look at Richfield’s progress during the past 12 months.

“There were number of noteworthy things that happened throughout the year,” Mayor Pat Elliott said before highlighting particularly favorable developments.

That included the city securing a $7 million grant to help fund an underpass at 77th Street and Cedar Avenue, and what Elliott termed “hidden revenue” that the city captured under Devich’s leadership. Such revenue included about $262,000 in passports in 2016, and nearly $530,000 in registration fees.

In addition, the Richfield Municipal Pool enjoyed record revenue in 2016, Elliott noted. The mayor also cited a favorable bond rating and a desirable 42 percent fund balance established by the city.

Community outreach in the police department was another area of praise for Devich.

“Getting the police officers out of the car and into the neighborhoods, it just creates much more harmony in the community between the police and the citizens they’re there to protect,” Elliott said.

Devich’s raise includes a four-hour increase in vacation time, which the city manager called “a selling back of hours that I already have.”

Following Elliott’s list of positives, Councilmember Edwina Garcia took an earnest turn from the teasing tone she sometimes reserves for Devich, as she summed up the city council’s praise of the city manager.

“You’re doing a heck of a great job,” Garcia said. “Thank you so much for your service.”

Contact Andrew Wig at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent.