COLUMBIA — City Manager Bill Watkins received a 2 percent raise after City Council approved the increase at its meeting Monday night. Watkins' salary increased from $148,304 to about $151,270.
All city employees are eligible for an annual performance-based raise of up to 3 percent, city spokeswoman Toni Messina said.
Each council member was asked to fill out a 10-question evaluation, rating Watkins on a scale from zero to five in categories ranging from his professionalism to the way he managed specific departments, Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said.
"It gave us a chance to submit our criticism, recommendations and praise," Skala said.
The approval came after a closed work session where council members were able to discuss the raise with the city manager.
Watkins has seen some public criticism after a blog cited him as part of a "city council scheme" to oust certain council members.
Watkins, as well as Mayor Darwin Hindman, said though they attended the private gathering, the conversation never turned toward discussing strategies to remove anyone from office.
Nancy Harter, a non-profit consultant and city activist, wrote to Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade calling for Watkins to keep a log of meetings with city officials. Harter said she wrote the letter after reading the blog post about the gathering involving former mayors and city planners as well as Hindman and Watkins.
Wade said he hadn't had the opportunity to discuss the letter and doesn't know if he will forward the suggestion to Watkins.
"I think it's quite a reasonable raise," Wade added, in regard to Watkins.