City manager may receive salary jump

June Casagrande

NEWPORT BEACH -- Partly in response to a survey that showed City

Manager Homer Bludau's salary lagging behind other Orange County city

managers, as well as other city staff, the council will likely agree to a

pay raise for Bludau tonight.

"Homer was underpaid based on a survey we performed," Mayor Tod

Ridgeway said. "So we want to bring him in line with other city managers

in the county."

The survey ranked Bludau's annual salary of $145,000, plus a $3,600

car allowance, at No. 15 in a survey of 16 cities, beating out only San

Clemente. If approved, the increase will bring him to $170,000 minus the

car allowance, raising his ranking to about eighth.

His pay was also lower than Newport Beach's city attorney and chief of


Councilman Dennis O'Neil, who headed up the ad hoc committee to look

at a raise for Bludau, noted that the city manager had been hired at a

reduced rate to give the council an opportunity to evaluate his


"He was hired at a lower rate for a reason," said O'Neil, noting that

the council is unanimously in favor of the move. "We needed to make sure

that Homer could perform his job as we hoped that he would, and he has.

This is a time to reward him. We're glad to do it."

Bludau said he appreciates the gesture.

"I'm pleased that it appears that the council is expressing confidence

in my performance," he said. "I've been here almost three years, and I

love working for this community and this City Council."

One of Bludau's accomplishments in the last three years has been

improving the city's human resources operations, including writing an

employee manual. Previously, the city did not have any manual to clarify

terms of employment. He also has helped the city annex Newport Coast and

worked to extend the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement.

"Homer rolled up his sleeves and really got in there to do what we've

hired him for, which is to streamline all operations and create standards

at City Hall," Ridgeway said. "He's done a heck of a job."


* WHO: Newport Beach City Council meeting

* WHEN: 7 p.m. today

* WHERE: Council Chambers at City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.

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