Eden Prairie City Council members say they have the state’s best city manager in Minnesota and plan to increase his salary, but only to the limit allowed by state law.
A total annual pay package of approximately $218,000 was approved for City Manager Rick Getschow by the city council at its March 15 meeting. That’s a salary of $198,286 with the remainder being paid time off put into an account that Getschow would receive upon leaving employment with the City of Eden Prairie.
The two-piece package allows the city to follow what is commonly called the Governor’s Salary Cap Law, a state statute that says local governments cannot pay employees more than 110% of the governor’s salary without a waiver from the state.
Eden Prairie has such a waiver, issued by the Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB) in light of the local city manager’s extensive responsibilities, but it too limits what can be paid, although there are adjustments for inflation.
With the waiver, salary increases are tied to a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 6.2%, so the city manager’s new salary of $198,286 equates to that increase.
Over the years, changes to state law have increased the salary limit and eliminated restrictions for some government employees. For example, the law exempts school districts and does not restrict the pay of elected employees including county attorneys and county sheriffs.
Mayor Ron Case said Tuesday that he’s concerned that the law may prompt some local government leaders from Minnesota to take jobs in states where there is no such pay limit and compensation is 50 to 100% higher than in Minnesota.
It’s a particular concern given the current labor market, where most job seekers are in the driver’s seat.
“We could be having a ‘brain drain’ out of Minnesota if this issue doesn’t get fixed by the Legislature at some point,” the mayor said.
Case and other city council members said the increased pay is reflective of Getschow’s performance in 2021 and the council’s desire to keep him in Eden Prairie.
In a closed-session performance review March 1, according to Case, the city manager listed 2021 accomplishments that include completion of the Race Equity Report; adoption of an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance to foster affordable housing units; continued sustainability efforts; and implementation of new technology.
Case said the council gave Getschow “overwhelmingly positive reviews.”
“We do have the best city manager in the state of Minnesota,” he said. “There are some really good ones out there, and I’m not disparaging anyone else. We have an excellent city manager in this city.”
Eden Prairie is a Plan B statutory city with a council-manager form of government. The city manager oversees administrative duties for the city, while the mayor and council maintain traditional policy-making roles. Evaluation of the city manager is an annual task for the city council. Getschow has been Eden Prairie’s city manager since 2011.
Mark Weber is executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation.