Commissioners on Wednesday approved a 3 percent pay raise for Town Manager Joe Moore following a closed-session review of his first year on the job.
When Moore was hired July 22, 2015, his starting salary was $118,000. He now makes $121,540 per year.
Three percent is the maximum amount rank-and-file town employees can receive in a pay raise this year, up from 2.5 percent last year. While the town manager is not technically bound to that salary cap, town leaders generally apply the same standard when considering the manager’s pay.
“I’ve always felt like what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and in that sense we’ve followed the rule for whatever the cap is for the line employees to incorporate that for the manager,” said Zebulon Mayor Bob Matheny.
Matheny applied what he had learned in a UNC School of Government course to draw up a form for evaluating the manager. The form was given to commissioners at their Aug. 1 meeting, to be completed and returned by Aug. 12.
The evaluation consisted of 10 sections addressing areas like professional skills and status, policy execution, citizen relations and staffing. Each section included five opportunities for Matheny and the board to grade Moore on a scale of one to five.
Matheny declined to say what Moore scored, other than that it was high enough to merit the raise.
“We each did an evaluation, combined those and scored them and he got good scores,” Matheny said. “I think the board feels he’s done a good job, that he’s working hard for the town and we’re moving forward in a very positive direction. We awarded him in appreciation of his work in proportion to how we feel about the quality of his work.”
Commissioner Dale Beck said the raise was a reflection of Moore’s qualifications.
“He’s done a great job,” Beck said. “He’s extremely organized, for one thing. As far as getting along with staff, personnel, the board – he keeps us well informed and he’s just a good leader.”
The pay increase was the only action taken by the board as part of the review.
Per his contract, Moore’s vacation will increase from 15 days to 18 days for his second year in the position.
The contract also says Moore’s monthly allowance for travel within Wake County or a 50-mile radius of Zebulon is based on the regional consumer price index for gasoline.
“If the index reflects a negative, his monthly allowance stays the same,” said Finance Director Bobby Fitts.
Since the consumer price index reflected a 15.8 percent decrease in the cost of gasoline from June 2015 to June 2016, Moore’s monthly travel allowance remains at $400.
Moore guided the town through a review of several major capital expenses the town board can consider over the coming years and successfully won inclusion for new capital spending in the budget adopted by commissioners in June. That budget also reflected a 5-cent property tax increase. Moore’s plan recommended an ongoing, annual dedication of four cents of the tax rate toward street and vehicle upkeep, and another one cent toward property management and making Zebulon a more walkable community.
He has also worked to improve the working relationship between the town and the chamber of commerce and other nonprofits.