The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington)
BYLINE: CHRISTIAN HILL; Staff writer
The Lakewood city manager’s first brush with million-dollar budget cuts didn’t hurt him in the eyes of the City Council. Nor, apparently, did his courtship with neighboring Tacoma to possibly become its top executive.
The Lakewood City Council again gave City Manager Andrew Neiditz high marks during his recent annual performance evaluation, according to records obtained by The News Tribune.
Neiditz’s salary will remain $156,124 a year. Due to the tight city budget, he didn’t seek a salary increase and the council didn’t offer one.
Council members scored Neiditz as having exceeded their expectations in all four areas: organizational and fiscal management; relationship with the council and mayor, long-range planning and public relations.
The evaluation covered the 12-month period ending in March.
The city provided the completed evaluation Monday in response to a records request by The News Tribune. The seven council members signed the evaluation April 16, the same day they and Neiditz met in an executive, or closed, session to discuss it.
Neiditz became the chief executive of Pierce County’s second-largest city in March 2005.
“I think the council as a whole think that he’s provided the right kind of leadership,” Mayor Doug Richardson said Tuesday.
The council was complimentary of Neiditz’s handling of the city budget, including closing a slightly more than $1 million shortfall earlier this year. Most of the savings came from laying off four employees and eliminating four vacant positions.
“The continued delivery of services at historical levels in the face of ongoing budgetary challenges is a testament to the City Manager’s skill as a fiscal manager,” the council wrote.
The council also praised Neiditz for his timely response to requests for information from council members and the leadership role he’s taken on regional initiatives, including planning for military-related growth in the South Sound and overhauling the county’s 911 communications system.
Suggestions for improvements from the council were minor. They asked Neiditz to improve online access to budget information; provide more frequent updates on progress toward council goals, particularly as they relate to economic development; and schedule an annual volunteer appreciation event.
There was no mention in the evaluation of Neiditz’s bid to become Tacoma city manager. The Tacoma City Council hired T.C. Broadnax, formerly of San Antonio, in December. Neiditz finished second.
Under Neiditz’s contract, the city provides retirement and health benefits and pays him $450 per month for work-related car expenses. It contributes 11 percent of his base annual salary into a deferred compensation account.
Neiditz got a 4 percent raise to his base salary in 2006, a 3 percent hike in 2007 and 2 percent raises in 2008 and 2010. He declined a raise in 2009. He did the same last year, then accepted a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment at the council’s urging.
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