By Moses Leos III
After more than an hour finalizing the contract for Kyle’s new city manager in executive session on Dec. 2, Kyle officially tabbed Scott Sellers as the next person to take the top administrative job in the city.
“We’re catching a rising star at the right time,” Kyle Mayor Todd Webster said. “As long as city is moving forward, and we have positive environment, we are going to get a lot accomplished.”
According to Webster, Sellers’ contract, a three-year term totaling $186,264, is “data driven” to compare with several local municipalities. Sellers, who was the city manager in Kilgore since October 2011, had a base salary of $135,000 per year.
Webster said the city’s previous city manager salary was “below market” from neighboring cities. Former Kyle City Manager Lanny Lambert, who left to take the same job in Converse, made a base salary of $126,436 in 2013.
“That salary range wasn’t competitive enough to be able to obtain the city manager that [the city]deserves,” Webster said.
In addition to a base salary of $165,000, the city offered several incentives. Sellers will receive include a car allowance of $6,000 per year. Kyle will also pay for a mobile phone, tablet or laptop computer, along with the reimbursement of moving expenses.
The city will reimburse up to $1,500 per month in housing costs for a three-month period. In addition, the city will pay heath insurance premiums for Sellers and “qualified dependents.” Sellers, along with his wife, Amy, have seven children.
But Sellers’ contract holds several modifications from past city manager contracts. A major change is performance based pay adjustments.
For example, council must perform an evaluation on the city manager no later than Oct. 31 of each year. The evaluations range from 1, which is poor, to 5, which is exceeding performance standards.
Sellers said the provision for performance reviews are a first for him. However, he said it will provide incentive to complete his duties at a higher level.
“[Performance reviews] are something we typically do for staff in general,” Sellers said in a phone interview. “The city manager also has the same level of accountability.”
Per Sellers’ contract, the city council can opt to give Sellers a five percent increase in base salary should Sellers receive a 4 rating.
Webster also said the city manager position wouldn’t be eligible for cost of living adjustments (COLA) increases for which other city employees may be eligible.
“It’s a progressive way to think about compensation,” Webster said. “I expect him to perform. If he exceeds expectations, that will put him in the middle of the compensation range.”
Sellers’ contract also contains language regarding severance pay if council were to ever terminate the agreement. A “unilateral severance” package would include an amount equal to six months of pay from the current salary, plus vacation and sick leave. After every year, Sellers will receive an additional three months of pay to the six month calculation. That amount is not to exceed 12 months.
However, five votes from council are necessary to allow for a unilateral severance package. In addition, language calls for both parties to forgo “disparaging comments or statements of each other.”
Kyle announced its selection of Sellers at the Nov. 18 regular city council meeting. He along with 45 other applicants, applied for the city manager post; the list was narrowed down to five finalists on Nov. 10. The city council, which utilized the assistance of search firm Strategic Government Resources, interviewed the finalists during a special called meeting on Nov. 15.
Sellers, who officially begins on Jan. 1, said in a statement that Kyle is “full of incredible opportunities,” and that the city is a “dynamic community” that supports the local government and businesses.
He said the city’s location in an economically diverse area and its burgeoning population were a few reasons for applying for the Kyle job.
“I am very excited about coming to Kyle and working with great people,” Sellers said. “I’m in the process of getting to know the people in Kyle… and taking any challenges that will arrive.”
How does Kyle’s city manager compensation stack up?
City Salary Total Compensation
New Braunfels $160,850 $172,682
Schertz $161,320 $184,352
Cedar Park $165,000 $183,032
Kyle $165,000 $186,264
Buda $165,000 $187,658
San Marcos $172,515 $192,973
Seguin $192,417 $226,081