Larry Burks has been at the helm of Ohio’s largest township for two years and his bosses say he has “exceeded expectations” so they gave him a 3 percent raise.
The $4,171 pay hike will bring Burks’ salary up to $143,221. Trustee Mark Welch told the Journal-News the raise range for non-union contract employees is one-to-four percent. He said someone would have to get “straight A’s” and need no improvement to receive the ceiling — and everyone can improve.
“I think Larry’s doing a great job,” Welch said. “His demeanor and the way he is as a boss, he’s not a micro-manager, he is very inclusive. The culture within the township is very good at this point and I attribute that to Larry’s leadership.”
Welch gave Burks an average 4.36 score out of a possible 5 on his annual performance evaluation. He addressed improvement on that document saying the administrator is harder on himself than anybody else.
“This is a good trait because the bar you set for yourself is high and you endeavor to always be better,” Welch wrote. “You’re honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and you take responsibility when you realize you haven’t done your best. I respect and honor that about you.”
Trustee Ann Becker gave Burks an average score 4.72. She gave him a perfect “5” score in each sub-point under the headings of problem solving; effective communication; collaborative leadership; conflict management; accountability; workforce development and continual learning. She gave him nearly perfect scores in stewardship/financial management; strategic thinking and political awareness.
“Larry’s done a great job for the community,” Becker told the Journal-News. “He really invested his time and his family and has really reflected the quality of work that we’ve expected from him for West Chester Twp.”
Trustee Lee Wong did not fill out a performance evaluation for Burks but praised him as well.
“Larry has exceeded expectations,” Wong told the Journal-News. “One example is his strategic plan is very good, we approve it. And he has the foresight to lead the township in the future, so I’m satisfied.”
Burks credited his staff for his success and said he is “blessed” to be in West Chester.
“I’m going to say it over, and over and over again I’m just lucky to have a great team to work with,” he said. “The township is lucky to have a great team to work with. All the directors are just phenomenal at their jobs. It makes me motivated to do a good job as well.”
The trustees also approved some revisions to Burks’ renewable three-year contract that was set to expire in December. The employment agreement now is open-ended because he serves at the pleasure of the trustees.
Welch said the new contract gives both sides more options, especially since there is an election next week.
“The logic was hey if new trustees come in, which is possible, that they didn’t want to be looking at this old contract thinking they were beholden in some way,” Welch said. “He wanted to make it based upon his current performance record and not based upon a contract.”
Welch is running for the Ohio 52nd House seat and Wong is campaigning for the senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bill Coley.
Prior to taking the post, Burks was an assistant city manager of Bellevue, Neb. He replaced former West Chester Administrator Judi Boyko who resigned in August 2017 after a 13-year career as West Chester’s administrator. Boyko went to Hamilton County as the assistant county administrator and was hired as the Butler County administrator last year.
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