City manager tops highest salary list

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2011

Second in a series
By Emily Ford
Although Rowan County recently posted the salaries of all county employees on its website, don’t look for a similar database on Salisbury’s site.
“We have no plans to do that,” City Manager David Treme said. “Anybody who would like it can get it.”
Since Rowan County posted salaries in January, Salisbury has responded to several requests from people seeking information about city salaries, Treme said.
Salisbury received a “C” from the John Locke Foundation on, in part because the city doesn’t list salaries on its website.
The Post has posted the city’s salary database at
Treme is the top earner on the city’s $20.1 million payroll. Salisbury has 490 full-time employees and also pays $377,767 in part-time salaries.
Treme makes a base salary of $139,726.50, with total cash compensation of $147,873.50 including longevity and merit payments and a $6,000 annual car allowance. He’s worked for Salisbury for 25 years.
Compared to cities of Kannapolis, Concord, Lexington and Statesville, Treme is the longest serving and second highest paid city manager. Brian Hiatt in Concord makes more — $169,393.12.
The difference between Treme’s salary and the lowest paid worker’s salary is $120,070.50. The lowest paid position in Salisbury is a maintenance worker, earning $19,656.
In Concord, the city manager makes $149,154.72 more than a custodian earning $20,238.
The Kannapolis city manager earns $108,276.50 more than a construction maintenance worker’s $24,336 annual income.
Lexington’s city manager pulls down $98,246.76 more than a meter reader at $21,536.32, and the income of Statesville’s city manager is $106,585 more than a waste collector’s $22,334.
Treme and others who have worked for Salisbury since at least Jan. 1, 2010, received a lump-sum longevity payment this year equal to 1 percent of their annual salary.
Separately, people employed with the city as of March 1, 2010, qualified for a $500 average one-time merit payment, based on performance, City Clerk Myra Heard said.
The merit bonus was higher for members of the management team, who received $1,500 at Treme’s direction, Heard said.
Treme’s merit payment was half that, or $750.
Members of the management team include Jim Behmer, Tony Cinquemani, Rory Collins, Mike Crowell, Gail Elder White, Heard, Richard Kelly, Zack Kyle, Dan Mikkelson, Joe Morris, Bob Parnell, Doug Paris, John Sofley, Treme and Karen Wilkinson.
The city pays 100 percent of the cost for employees’ health insurance and contributes 3 percent of their annual salaries to their 401K. As required by state law, police receive 5 percent of their salary as a contribution to their 401K.
Faced with an expected $2.7 million budget gap, the city may not offer merit pay next year, Treme said.
“It’s probably very unlikely,” he said.
Longevity pay also is on the budget chopping block.
“It’s hard to say at this point,” Treme said.
And no city employee should count on a raise.
“This probably will be the third year we don’t see an increase in salary,” he said.
The city adjusted salaries for some positions at the lower end of the payroll two years ago to bring them in line with those of surrounding cities, Treme said.
To help balance the budget, the city may have to cut salaries or positions, encourage early retirement, continue to freeze hiring for non-essential jobs and consider furloughs and other measures, Treme said in a Feb. 25 letter to employees.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Salisbury’s top 10 salaries (Click here to search the database)
Name Title Salary
David Treme City manager $139,726.50
John Sofley Finance director $112,858.72
James Behmer Utilities director $105,040
Mike Crowell Broadband serv. dir $100,115.60
Dan Mikkelson Engineering dir. $98,988.50
Zack Kyle Human resources dir. $94,500.12
Randall Moran Inform. sys. mgr. $94,500.12
Gail Elder White Parks & rec dir. $92,173.38
Rory Collins Police chief $90,006
Bob Parnell Fire chief $90,000.04