City Manager Kevin Phelps

Glendale City Council is considering a 13% raise to a base salary of $272,000 for City Manager Kevin Phelps.

*Update: City council approved the raise by a 6-1 vote (Bart Turner opposed).

In 2020, Kevin Phelps skippered his staff and city council to significantly expand the city of Glendale, guiding multiple annexation projects that literally moved the map.

This week, Glendale City Council will consider giving Phelps a raise.

“A request for council to review the terms and consider approval of the city manager’s employment contract” is a featured item on the Tuesday, Jan. 26, Glendale City Council meeting agenda.

Phelps has been the Glendale city manager since 2015.

Since then, he has slowly turned around what appeared to be a teetering ship, guiding Glendale back from the brink of bankruptcy to a buoyant bank balance. Much of that was fueled by major business developments including White Claw and Red Bull in the city’s expanding western boundaries. 

His contract was previously adjusted in 2018, with an upgrade to a base salary of  $229,500. Over the next two years, 2.5% base salary increases took him to annual base pay of $241,118.

Phelps is requesting a 13% increase to a base salary of $270,000.

According to Sue Breding, a city spokeswoman, “a market review of city manager salaries was conducted. This adjustment will bring the city of Glendale from ranking eighth in city manager base pay to fourth out of our 10 benchmark cities.”

 If council approves the increase, Phelps would also be eligible for an annual performance evaluation and a potential 1.5% — $4,080 — bonus.

As an executive, Phelps is not required to punch a clock and will have a flexible, if demanding, schedule, as the contract notes:

“It is understood and agreed that (the city manager) will be required not only to work during normal office hours but also will spend considerable time outside of these hours including, but not limited to, attendance at council meetings. It is agreed and understood that (the city manager) is allowed personal time off as compensation with said time to be determined at employee’s discretion.”

The city will also pay up to $12,000 annually for the city manager’s “dues, memberships and attendance at seminars of professional organizations.” 

And, if approved, Glendale will pay Phelps an additional $450 per month ($5,400 per year) for vehicle allowance, with Phelps “expected to use his personal vehicle for all city business.”

In return, forget about the standard “two-week notice”: If Phelps wants to quit the job, he agrees to give the city advance notice of six months.

The city manager’s employment is “at the pleasure of city council.”

On the flip side, he can be shown the door at any time.

Four or more council members can vote to fire Phelps “at any regular or special meeting … for any reason or no reason.”

But, if council sends Phelps packing, he will receive “nine months base pay,” or $204,000, according to the contract.