McClarty
McClarty

At an annual salary of $112,500, York City's new economic and community development director is the highest-paid city employee.

Mayor Kim Bracey confirmed Tuesday that the city's Redevelopment Authority is paying Leonardo McClarty $17,000 in addition to the $95,500 "starting annual salary" approved by the York City Council in April.

No city employee earns more than $112,500 annually, according to Thomas Ray, the city's deputy business administrator for human resources.

In a letter dated April 7, Bracey offered McClarty the director's position at a salary of $112,500. The York Dispatch obtained the letter through a Right to Know request.

On April 15, the council approved McClarty's appointment and the $95,500 salary.

At that meeting, Bracey said she was "proposing that we make an offer at the maximum range of our salary band for our directors at $95,500."

A salary of $112,500 was not mentioned at that meeting.

Council reaction: Council President Carol Hill-Evans said Tuesday that she knew McClarty would be working with the RDA, but "I didn't know that that was going to carry any money."

"If that was part of the agreement, I don't know that it was disclosed to the public and I think it should have been," Hill-Evans said. "I'd like to know why we're just now finding out about it."

In an email, Bracey said the full salary "was disclosed and voted upon at several public meetings I attended and even those I wasn't in attendance for."


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She said the RDA has paid past directors from its Community Development Block Grant allocation.

In this case, she said, the RDA "is in receipt of commitments and contributions from the community and organizations such as Better York, for these additional funds."

"Many of us recognize in order to get much needed economic development done in our cities we have to pay people what they are worth," she wrote. "A pay that is commensurate with the required skills, experience, and knowledge in the field. We are not just paying for the work performed, rather we are paying for the skillset he brings to the table too."

His role: Asked whether McClarty's role with the RDA will be different than past directors, Bracey said, "It likely will be."

"In fact, at least one council member has asked it to be. He will do more with the RDA, as their role is expanding in the community with the many projects they are leading and properties in their inventory; he will assist with the General Authority; he will assist with the CRIZ Authority and hopeful designation as well," she wrote.

Before the April 15 vote, Councilman Michael Helfrich said he'd heard McClarty's salary might be supplemented by the RDA or local businesses.

"I was getting mixed information at the time of the vote. Some people were telling me that there would be additional money coming to him," Helfrich said. "When I asked the mayor directly, she said we would be paying him $95,500."

Helfrich said he had told Bracey and other officials earlier in the process that he could not support a salary above $100,000 for a new director.

"I told them there was no way I could approve that," he said. "Then they came back to me and said, 'What about 95?'"

He said he is "not opposed to the ($112,500 salary) in principle if he proves to be worth it."

"In the heat of trying to fill that space and the fact that the mayor had waited over a year to even bring us a candidate, I felt I had to do what I could do to make sure we got a qualified person in that position," Helfrich said.

Councilman David Satterlee said he knew about the additional compensation from the RDA when he voted to appoint McClarty on April 15.

"If he does his job, then his salary is worth the job," Satterlee said.

Councilman Henry Nixon and Councilwoman Renee Nelson could not be reached for comment.

Duties: The job of economic and community development director was most recently held by Schreiber, who was elected to the state House last year.

The job includes supervision of the city's housing, health and permits and zoning bureaus. In the role, McClarty will also serve as the city's liaison to the Redevelopment Authority.

The city budgeted $79,341 this year for the director's position. In 2013, the last year Schreiber held the director's position, the city had budgeted a $77,557 salary.

McClarty had served as the president of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in Georgia since 2004, according to his resume. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in city and regional planning.

McClarty began working for York earlier this month.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.