Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson will continue on as an official city employee again as of Oct. 14.
The city council came out of executive session during its Oct. 10 special meeting and unanimously appointed Thompson to the job with no discussion on the issue. Thompson, who has been filling the role on a contractual basis for the last year at an annual rate of $347,000, will return to his previous salary of $375,000 per year when he steps back into the role as an official city employee.
That salary makes Thompson the highest paid municipal employee in the Valley.
According to various council members, the city did not post the job anywhere, did not look for another candidate and didn’t interview anyone but Thompson for the position.
Councilman Barry Graham called for “a fair, open and transparent process,” when the council voted to begin a search for Thompson’s replacement on June 20.
He said Oct. 11 he feels the process met that standard “because we communicated every step of the process.”
Graham said on Oct. 6 he had not made up his mind on how to vote on Thompson’s reappointment but that was cleared up in the executive session.
“I try not to decide absolutely before the vote but he sent the council his performance markers on what he accomplished and what he plans to do,” Graham said. “We got together in executive session and discussed all of that and I made up my mind to join my colleagues.”
Councilwoman Betty Janik said she believes it was a fair process and doubts there would have been many candidates for the position, even if the city had posted it.
“I talked to Monica (Boyd) who’s in charge of our human resources … on the national listing, there are 30 openings for city manager. It’s been that way for a while. There’s simply not that much interest in that job,” Janik said Oct. 11.
“While I know Jim gets a very good salary, if you were to hire someone else on, you wouldn’t bring him in at that salary so I think under the circumstances it was a realistic way to go, if that makes sense. You always have to consider the downside when you start doing all this, recruiting would have been very expensive, and to me I don’t believe we would have been able to get many people who would have met our qualifications, based on the situation.”
The city manager’s position is a charter office, meaning it was created by the city charter and it is answerable only to the council, which also votes to fill the position.
Thompson has 35 years in public administration and has held the position of Scottsdale city manager since 2017.
Thompson formally retired from his position as city manager last October, largely because of Arizona State Retirement System rules, and picked up where he left off as a contractor several days later. His current contract ends Oct. 13.
“I appreciate the City Council’s support and leadership in allowing me to continue as Scottsdale’s city manager,” Thompson said in a written statement. “Being part of this community and this organization is something I enjoy immensely, and I look forward to many more years in Scottsdale.”
He also sent out a city-wide email Sept. 29 in which he predicted being reappointed.
“Many of you recall that about one year ago, I officially ‘retired’ and was rehired on a contract basis by the city council. It was an action that worked best for my personal circumstances, and I appreciate the city council’s support in doing it.
“With a year now gone, I can drop the contract status and come back as a regular city employee — and I am grateful that the city council will consider doing that very thing at their Oct. 10 meeting.”
Original article can be found here.