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Normal Council OKs Raise for City Manager Pam Reece

Pam Reece listens
Joe Deacon
Normal City Manager Pam Reece, center, listens as Council Member Kevin McCarthy discusses her performance during Monday's meeting at Uptown Station.

Normal City Manager Pam Reece received a salary increase Monday, along with plenty of praise from Town Council members.

The council voted 6-0 in approving a 3% raise that boosts Reece’s base salary to $190,550 for the 2019-20 fiscal year; Stan Nord chose to abstain.

Mayor Chris Koos said Reece holds “the high respect of her peers” and is “completely deserving” of the raise.

“I’ve known her for 18 or 19 years as a council member and as mayor,” he said. “(She is) very professional, very hard working, very intelligent ... makes good decisions, thoughtful decisions. She’s doing what she’s supposed to be doing at a very high level.”

Council member Chemberly Cummings said Reece goes “above and beyond the call of duty” and has “exceeded expectations,” while Kevin McCarthy noted Reece inherited a large budget cut and credited her for “keeping the town humming along, and not just surviving but thriving” despite a staff reduction.

Karyn Smith disputed public criticism that suggested Reece did not deserve the raise, noting that the city manager’s actions are determined by the council’s direction. Smith noted the job is not a “9-to-5” position and often Reece must serve as a lightning rod.

“She has an institutional history that is beneficial to this community, and her professionalism is something that she carries on a constant basis,” said Smith.

Reece has worked for the town since 1991 and was promoted into her current position two years ago following the retirement of Mark Peterson.

Scott Preston said Reece rose to the top of candidates when the council was searching for Peterson’s replacement, adding he is “very proud of the work she’s done.” Kathleen Lorenz noted raises for Peterson did not face as much public scrutiny.

“I’m not making any accusations that anybody is thinking that because she is a woman that she doesn’t deserve a fair wage … She is doing the job of an excellent city manager, regardless of her gender,” Lorenz said.

Nord said he chose to abstain because Reece’s performance evaluation came before he joined the council. After Lorenz said she was disappointed by Nord’s action, he responded by pointing out he also abstained when the matter was discussed in executive session.

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Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU.