Wilson city manager gets 18 percent raise
Dec 14, 2012 (The Wilson Daily Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Working at the forefront of battles against Time Warner Cable and Sanderson Farms as well as the day-to-day task of leading a city work force of about 700 employees led the Wilson City Council to give City Manager Grant Goings an 18-percent raise.
Goings, who started working in Wilson in 2005, was approved to receive an annual raise to $175,000, effective as of July 1, 2012, which increases his pay from the current level of about $148,000.
The council voted on the raise Thursday during its work session, prior to its 7 p.m. council meeting.
"We have a wonderful city manager and we desperately want to keep him here," Mayor Bruce Rose said. "We get calls at the City Hall an awful lot lately wanting to talk with him about other employment. We don't want that to happen. We want to keep him very competitive with other salaries in our community."
Goings, much like the city workforce, has not received a raise in four years. Just recently, city employees were approved to start receiving raises, at 4 percent, based on their work performance.
Rose said Goings' raise was different from other local government leaders, including Wilson County Manager Ellis Williford who previously pushed to secure himself a $20,000 annual raise while other county workers were subject to a wage freeze. Former Sheriff Wayne Gay also received a $10,000 raise, around the same time.
"He did not get a raise the whole four years like the other employees and it wasn't like that across the street when Ellis Williford got that manager's raise when his employees didn't get a raise," Rose said.
Goings' involvement in the city's attempts to establish and secure Greenlight's future in the face of legislative challenges launched by Time Warner Cable and the city's fight to challenge Sanderson Farms' location in Nash County to protect water supplies were major issues in the city's history. Rose said Goings was not only heavily involved in those issues but also in his regular duties as city manager.
"He has been at the forefront of Greenlight and, of course, our fight with Sanderson Farms," Rose said. "He's just been super involved in everything in our city government. He's worked many hours, trying to carry out the job. He's put together a great staff here and all of them are very young and they are very, very smart. We want him to stay here long-term."
Rose said that the salaries of other managers in the area were explored before the council decided to boost Goings' pay to what they viewed as a competitive level. Still, Councilwoman Gwen Burton said that some managers in the region are making more than the amount the council agreed to pay Goings. Councilman A.P. Coleman said that city officials needed to make sure they were paying the manager a comparable and competitive pay. Through the years, members of the city council have spoken highly of Goings and his leadership.
In 2005, Goings was hired in at a salary of $125,000, plus assorted benefits, following the retirement of former city manager Ed Wyatt. He has received several raises through the years, except for the past four when city employee pay has remained the same due to a difficult economy and city budget cuts.
In addition to his salary, Goings also receives a $500 per-month car allowance. Goings came to Wilson from Shelby, where he had been city manager for five years. He has worked in public administration since 1991.
"I work in a profession with an average turnover rate (that) is similar to college football coaches, so it really is an honor after eight years to receive such a strong vote of confidence from the city council," Goings said. "I am fortunate to work with a great team at the city of Wilson, and I am honored to serve our community."
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