If actions speak louder than words, then the Greensboro City Council really likes City Attorney Chuck Watts.
There was no statement made, but the City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 17 unanimously passed a motion to give Watts a $19,000 raise, from $190,000 to $209,000 a year. That’s a 10 percent raise, which is much better than rank-and-file city employees who received an average of a 3 percent raise in this year’s budget.
Also, Watts started working for the city on June 1, so he received the raise after only working for six months. He also receives “executive compensation” of $6,000 a year in addition to his salary.
The only other City Council employee, City Manager David Parrish, is paid $217,000 year and, although he did not receive a salary increase on Tuesday night, the City Council did give Parrish a pretty nice Christmas gift. In another motion that passed unanimously, the city’s contribution to Parrish’s 401K was raised from 3.25 percent to 5.25 percent.
But both Parrish and Watts have a ways to go to become the city’s highest paid employee because Coliseum Director Matt Brown, who reports to Parrish, is paid $341,000 a year.
The thing that made the salary increase for Watts and the benefits increase for Parrish unusual was that nobody on the City Council said anything about the reasons for the increases. Particularly with a 10 percent raise, councilmembers usually feel called to say a few words of explanation.
However, the City Council did give Watts another bonus. Department heads for the City of Greensboro are required to live in Greensboro. When Watts was hired he was given a year to move to Greensboro, but the City Council extended that deadline from May 30, 2020 to Nov. 30, 2020. Watts currently lives in Durham, and with that extension, if he chooses, he can continue to commute for another year.