With Ray Mueller casting the dissenting vote, the Menlo Park City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a new two-year contract for City Manager Alex McIntyre.
Under the contract, which runs through March 2017, Mr. McIntyre's annual salary will increase by 9 percent from $199,000 to $217,500. The city will also add $7,500 to the $9,500 payment it makes annually to his retirement fund, and pay an amount of deferred compensation each year that equals what Menlo Park would have paid for his health insurance premium.
After pulling the item from the consent calendar, the council members each took a few minutes to explain their positions.
"This is something I struggled with," Mayor Cat Carlton said. Mr. McIntyre has agreed to do better at communicating with the council and residents, and has recognized his mistakes, according to the mayor.
Along with council members Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki, she also commented on "what's been done right. He's done a good job of hiring people," such as Finance Director Drew Corbett and Police Chief Bob Jonsen.
Vice Mayor Rich Cline acknowledged that while there were concerns, there were also a lot of pluses, so he wasn't at the point of "wanting to pull the rug out and start over." Mr. McIntyre had been hired in the hopes of providing some consistency and continuity for Menlo Park. "A lot of times, it gets overlooked how hard the job is."
During public comment, former councilman Heyward Robinson spoke about the city manager's hiring of public relations consultant Malcolm Smith during the heated Measure M campaign, alleging again that the city stonewalled public records requests.
The San Mateo County district attorney and the state's Fair Political Practices Commission concluded that the consultant was not used to illegally influence the election's outcome. Likewise, several council members on Tuesday night said they came to the same conclusion after reviewing documents provided by Mr. Robinson and other Measure M supporters, and talking with District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Still, "I'm voting no tonight," Mr. Mueller said, adding that he had concerns about fiscal philosophy and some issues that arose while he had served as mayor, without going into further detail. He said he had discussed the decision with the city manager and credited Mr. McIntyre for his professionalism.