City manager gets a raise

Councilman Moore praises her work, yet casts dissenting vote

File photo

The city manager is getting a raise. The City Council on Monday, Sept. 27, voted 4-1 to approve an amendment to Jill Ingram’s contract with Seal Beach, which included the pay raise. (See below for more details.) District Two Councilman Thomas Moore cast the dissenting vote.

The proposed agreement would “increase Ms. Ingram’s annual base salary to $270,000 as of July 1, 2021, and to $280,800 as of July 1, 2022,” wrote City Attorney Craig Steele in his report to the council.

During Monday’s meeting, Steele said the council had completed the annual city manager evaluation process.

Both at the meeting and in his staff report, Steele said other city employees get longevity pay. Ingram has been the city manager for roughly a decade.

Councilman Moore praised Ingram’s work, but opposed the pay increase.

“Seal Beach is a small city,” Moore said.

He said this agreement was for an 11% increase over two years.

Moore said he couldn’t agree to an increase of 11% over two years.

District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt disagreed. “Most of you know that I’ve been in the public sector business for 30 years. Or I was,” she said. Massa-Lavitt said Seal Beach has one of the best city managers there is.

“The staff supports her 100%,” Massa-Lavitt said.

“I can’t express strongly enough how lucky we are,” Massa-Lavitt said.

District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick said he would echo a lot of what Massa-Lavitt said.

He said that the city manager had navigated the city through an unprecedented economic time. He said other cities have reached out to hire Ingram.

“At the same time, I respect council member Moore’s fiscal conservatism,” Kalmick said.

District Councilman Three Councilman Mike Varipapa moved to approve the contract amendments.

Masa-Lavitt also moved to approve the contract amendments. Kalmick pointed out that she was actually seconding the motion.

Moore cast the last vote, which was “no.”

“Sufficient funds are available in the budget to provide for the amendment in FY 2021-22, and ongoing costs will be incorporated into future budgets,” Steele wrote in his report.

The amendment, the fifth since Ingram became city manager, also increased the city’s contribution to the city manager’s deferred compensation and increased her allowance for administrative leave to 80 hours.


“Although she has served third longest of any City Manager in Orange County, her salary is about 17th in the County, behind some city managers in contract cities. At 10 years of service, other City employees would be eligible for longevity pay,” Steele wrote.

“However, this benefit is not automatically applicable. Further, the proposed increases would maintain a bit of separation between the City Manager’s salary and that of the highest paid department head,” Steele wrote.

Deferred compensation

“Increase the City’s contribution to Ms. Ingram’s deferred compensation program to the normal base IRS contribution limit per year, which is currently set at $19,500. This would be an increase of $2,500 based on the current limit,” Steele wrote.

Administrative leave

“Similar to the proposal for Department Heads, increase the allowance for administrative leave from 48 hours to 80 hours. These hours cannot be accrued and cannot be cashed out. The limit change would provide additional administrative leave hours that are more standard for public sector senior executive employees,” Steele wrote.