SHERIDAN — Tonight, the Sheridan City Council will consider the final reading of a charter ordinance establishing an administrator to oversee city operations.
Barring several unforeseen changes of heart, councilors are expected to pass the measure with the required two-thirds vote. If they do so, the city plans to offer one of the more lucrative starting wages for an administrator in Wyoming.
Human Resources Director Heather Doke said Sheridan budgeted $175,000 in salaries and benefits to hire a qualified individual. This figure came from part of a pay scale study by Condrey & Associates in 2013.
The study used interviews and questionnaires with employees as well as an examination of cost of living, job descriptions, overall responsibilities and pay scales from private and public entities in surrounding areas.
Because the city has never hired an administrator before, Doke could not say whether the salary and benefits would prove high, low or on-point, but she guessed it would be “pretty close” based on the training and educational background Sheridan would seek in a candidate.
Sheridan does not have to use all of its budgeted $175,000 on an administrator — it simply budgeted that amount — leaving the city plenty of wiggle room.
If it does settle on $175,000, however, Sheridan will sit on the higher end of the spectrum, an analysis of other Wyoming city administrator salaries shows.
Gillette pays between $107,000 and $150,000 (median: $129,000) for its administrator. Communications Manager Geno Palazzari said Gillette does not release individual salaries, but rather ranges for all positions.
The administrative office in Gillette employs four individuals — an administrator, communications manager, community and government relations manager and senior administrative assistant — for a total budget hit of $414,139.
Douglas and Converse County, meanwhile, also have a higher cost of living than Sheridan. Douglas has a population of approximately 6,100 and pays its city administrator $103,000 annually.
Powell budgets $99,216 for an administrator. Park County has a slightly lower cost of living than Sheridan, and Powell has roughly 6,300 residents.
Jackson, meanwhile, pays an administrator $168,000 in salary and benefits to oversee the 9,577-person town.
Teton County has far and away the highest cost of living in Wyoming.
Other cities in the state hired additional support staff to support a city administrator. Sheridan, however, does not plan to bring in more administrative employees.
“The administrative staff we currently have at city hall both with the mayor’s administrative staff and clerk’s staff would be more than enough to support a city administrator,” Public Works Director Nic Bateson said. “We would not need to hire additional staff.”