The Portland City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve City Manager Jon Jennings’ contract extension.

The three-year extension comes one year after the council gave Jennings an $18,500 raise, bringing his salary to $166,550. That 12 percent raise was seen as a vote of confidence in Jennings, who had been battling Mayor Ethan Strimling over various issues for more than a year.

Jon Jennings

Beginning in July, his annual salary will increase to $169,813. His vehicle allowance will increase, from $500 to $600 a month. He will not get additional compensation for miles driven. And he now will get 25 days of vacation at the beginning of each year instead of accruing four weeks over the course of a year.

Jennings’ benefits will increase the longer he stays with the city.

He will be eligible for bonuses in each contract year if he meets goals established by the council, starting at 3 percent of his salary in the first year, increasing to 4 percent in the second and reaching 5 percent in the third.

The city’s contribution to his retirement also escalates. Next year, the city will pay 13 percent of his base salary into his retirement fund, up from 12 percent, while contributing 15 percent in the second year and 16 percent in the third.

The council can still remove the manager without cause, but it will be more expensive under the new contract.

The previous contract committed the council to paying Jennings half his annual salary if he was removed without cause. The new contract doubles that to a full year’s salary if he’s terminated in the first year, 13 months in the second and 14 months of salary in the third. That’s in addition to a year’s worth of health coverage.

By comparison, Xavier Botana, superintendent of Portland Public Schools, made in $148,000 in 2016 and Strimling made $71,100.

Public opinion was divided on Jennings’ contract extension at the council meeting. One member of the public described Jennings’ tenure as city manager so far as “corrosive,” while another described Jennings as the “best city manager” Portland has had in a long time.

Strimling, who has clashed with Jennings in the past, voiced his support for the extension and praised Jennings’ expertise. “This city manager understands the nuts and bolts,” he mayor said.

Cara DeRose can be contacted at 7916363 or at:

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