Fairfield city manager receives third pay raise

Fairfield City Council gave City Manager Mark Wendling a third pay raise in as many years.

City Council voted on May 14 to give Wendling a 3 percent cost-of-living increase — which equates to a little more than a $4,600 pay raise — but the board did not alter any of the other terms of his contract. Wendling now makes $159,214 a year effective May 1.

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Wendling was hired seven years ago as the assistant city manager with the idea he’d succeed Art Pizzano as city manager. He was promoted to city manager on May 1, 2015. He was awarded a three-year contract with an annual automatic one-year renewal clause unless council decides otherwise.

Wending is right behind Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith ($176,000) and Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins ($161,949) in base pay.

“We’re glad Mark is here and he’s done a very good job,” said Mayor Steve Miller. “And his evaluation reflected that.”

In today’s economy, Miller said a 3 percent raise “is a pretty good increase.”

“We felt it was very much deserved for the good work that he’s done,” he said.

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Wendling said he is “grateful” and “appreciates” council’s continued confidence.

“We work well as a team,” he said. “It is a privilege to serve the Fairfield community.”

Over the past three years, Wendling has made a handful of department-head hires, including Public Utilities Director Adam Sackenheim and now former Assistant City Manager Greg Preece. He also promoted Department of Development Director Greg Kathman and Police Chief Steve Maynard.

He will need to hire his second assistant city manager after Preece left for a job in Oakland, Calif., and a parks director.

“The thing that impresses me the most is his hiring ability because he’s hired some good, capable people,” said Miller. “And even with the ones he’s hired internally, he’s applied a lot of pressure from external candidates to make sure that the internal one is the best person.”

Miller said Wendling has led the way in what he called “very aggressive” operating and capital budgets, and is working to bring a number of projects online, including the development of Marsh Park, the re-development of Harbin Park and a new dog park.

“They’ve been discussed but now they’re all coming alive on Mark’s watch, and he’s really grabbed the bull by the horns and he’s taken on the challenges and he’s meeting them,” Miller said.

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