Update on Missoula Mayor John Engen’s Pay Increases, New Numbers and Responses From City
Missoula Mayor John Engen received a pay increase between FY 2014 and FY 2015 after saying he wouldn't, but his pay throughout his tenure has not grown by 50 percent as previous Missoula city data showed.
According to City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam, the actual pay for Mayor Engen since he came to office in 2006 is as follows:
The salary for Mayor Kadas in 2005 was 57,956. The last official "raise" voted on by city council jumped the pay for Mayor to $70,000 before Engen took office. Engen was a member of that city council.
According to these numbers, the total growth in pay is about 15.8 percent, rather than 29 percent or 50 percent as previous city numbers showed.
In contrast, Montana State data shows that the average Missoulian made $35,487 in 2014 and had seen paycheck growth of around 14.49 percent between 2006 and 2013, about on par with Mayor Engen's increases.
As can be seen, the mayor did not choose to take pay increases for FY 10, 11 and 12, during the heart of the recession, but he did receive one in FY 2015, a few weeks after saying he would not take a pay increase.
On April 23, at a public city council meeting, Engen read into the public record that non-union government employees would receive a 3 percent increase in pay. When Engen was asked 15 days later on May 8, he said "I am not increasing my income."
Engen was asked a follow-up question to determine if he was a member of the city employees, to which he said "I am a member of the city employees, but I haven't determined whether to take the COLA [cost of living adjustment] or not."
Engen was then asked if he would publicly state that he was not taking the pay raise to which he said "sure, I'll tell you that now."
Merriam says that the mayor's statements about not receiving a pay increase were the result of having been "badgered" and that they were "quite different from making a thoughtful decision based on the City budget and his family’s finances."
As far as the errors in previous city data are concerned, the errors appear to be largely due to a vehicle allowance of $6,600 that the mayor receives each year. Prior to 2011 and going back at least to Mayor Kadas, pay for the Mayor's vehicle was calculated differently.
The vehicle allowance of $6,600 alone does not help make sense of all of the numbers previously sent, and the city says there were "mistakes that cannot be accounted for."