City Beat

Sacramento City Manager John Shirey agrees to contract extension

City Manager John Shirey would remain with Sacramento until late 2016 under a contract extension he has agreed to.
City Manager John Shirey would remain with Sacramento until late 2016 under a contract extension he has agreed to. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento City Manager John Shirey has agreed to extend his contract, likely keeping him in the city’s top administrative post through Nov. 18, 2016.

The 17-month contract extension requires City Council approval and is scheduled to be voted on by the council at its meeting Tuesday night. The council is also scheduled to hold a closed-door session before its regular meeting to discuss Shirey’s performance and receive an update on his contract from Mayor Kevin Johnson, who negotiated the new pact with Shirey.

The proposed contract would pay Shirey a base salary of $268,423 per year, according to a city staff report. His salary is increasing 1 percent, but Shirey is increasing his contribution to his CalPERS pension account by 1 percentage point, according to the terms of his contract.

Shirey’s base salary is the highest among city managers in the Sacramento region. Ten California city managers earned base salaries higher than $268,000 in 2013, according to the latest data from the State Controller’s Office. California has about 480 cities.

The city will continue to contribute a combined $15,000 per year into Shirey’s 401(a) and 457(b) retirement funds, and he will receive a monthly automobile allowance of $500, according to the contract terms. Those provisions were also in Shirey’s original contract signed in 2011.

Shirey was hired as the city manager in August 2011 after a tumultuous period at City Hall in which the city was led by three city managers in just over a year. He was given a 10-month extension of his original contract starting in September 2014; that agreement was set to expire at the end of this month.

“I feel like my job is not done, and I feel like this is the most exciting time to be in Sacramento,” Shirey said.

The new contract will keep Shirey in office through next year’s mayoral election, along with the expected completion of both a new downtown arena for the Kings and the development of apartments, shops and restaurants in the 700 block of K Street. Those projects have been priorities for the city under Shirey’s tenure.

Johnson was not available for comment.

Councilman Steve Hansen, one of Shirey’s most vocal supporters on the City Council, described Shirey as “a stabilizing force.” Hansen led the campaign to defeat Johnson’s November ballot measure that would have transferred many of the authorities held by the city manager to the mayor’s office. Shirey said he would have resigned had the ballot measure passed.

“John has navigated the city through the depths of the recession and has helped us put in place the fundamentals for the successful revitalization of the city,” Hansen said. “I credit him with a lot of our success.”

Staff writer Phillip Reese contributed to this report.