City manager’s contract amendments get 3rd reading

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen will be watching closely Monday night’s third reading of an ordinance authorizing amendments to his contract since it didn’t do as well as he would have expected at the second reading a couple of weeks ago.

The second reading ended up with a 3-3 vote, which means it did not get a second reading.

Third Ward Councilman Kevin E. Johnson, Fifth Ward Councilman Gene Meadows and Sixth Ward Councilman Tom Lowe voted against the measure. First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson, Second Ward Councilwoman Jo Ann Aeh and Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Kalb voted in favor of the amendment.

Allen was asking for a $250,000 life insurance policy, five weeks of additional vacation time, an increase in vehicle allowance and fees for professional organizations to which he belongs. The vacation time got shortened to four weeks instead of five, but everything else remains in the ordinance as it goes up for consideration Monday night.

Specifically Allen asked the city to agree to pay the premium of $1,182.50 on a $250,000 life insurance policy; have his vacation time increased to five weeks to be used during the calendar year; $3,600 per year, payable in equal monthly installments of $300 as a vehicle allowance to be used to purchase, lease or own, operate and maintain a vehicle and to pay his annual membership fee in the American Society of Public Administration. In addition, the city agrees to pay the membership dues in the International City Manager’s Association (ICMA) and Ohio City Manager’s Association (OCMA).

The first to object to the package was Kevin E. Johnson.

“I continue not to support the increases,” Kevin E. Johnson said. “I know that’s not popular with some people, but at this time I don’t support it. The city manager, I back him 100 percent, but he has only been on the job two years and when you have department heads that haven’t had raises since 2009, I just don’t feel it is the time to increase his benefits.”

Council will also go over the questions on Allen’s evaluation sheets during the City Manager’s Conference Agenda.

Some council members objected to question which they could not possibly answer because they are not involved in the aspects the questions deal with, including his relationships with employees.

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.