“Just Trust Staff” – The Reason for the Questions: City Attorney Cheryl Carlson

A common phrase uttered at council meetings by particular lame duck council members is “we need to just trust our staff.”  Well, that would be nice but, unfortunately when people with little-to-no ethics are in charge you cannot “just trust staff.”

Here is a great example, current city attorney Cheryl Carlson.  She was hired on August 8, 2007 to serve at Deputy City Attorney for a starting salary of $97,236 and was to start on September 17.  Click here to see her hiring letter.  On December 10, 2007, less than three months on the job, she was promoted to Interim City Attorney and her salary was raised to $112,416 a year.

On July 1, 2008 she was promoted again to City Attorney, again with a raise to $126,565 a year.  One year later she received a grade-increase raise to $132,246 a year. 

Here is a timeline of all the events, with all information gained through public records requests.

Click here to see her personnel action forms, outlining each raise.

Now, here’s where it really gets good.  On September 18, 2009 former City Manager Gary McLean gave Carlson a retention bonus for her “extraordinary service” of 168 additional vacation hours in her vacation bank as of that day.  In addition, she will receive another 168 vacation hours on October 15, 2009. 

Wait, I know, you think that’s it. Nope.

On November 15, 2009 she will receive ANOTHER 168 vacation hours! 

So, in three months she received the equivalent of 63 vacation days, or three years worth of vacation days, as her contract allows for 21 days a year.

Click here to see the vacation hour letter.

So, our taxes have gone up, our library hours have been cut, our street problems continue to be ignored, yet the city attorney has gone from $97,236 four years ago to $140,111 and literally hundreds of vacation hours now.

Yes, let’s not ask questions, let’s “just trust the staff.”

Filed under Cheryl Carlson, Finances

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