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Kilger takes 20 percent salary cut
Ceres City Manager Brad Kilger has taken a 20 percent cut in his compensation package as the City Council continues to trim city expenses.

Mayor Anthony Cannella said as the city faces one of the most significant economic crisis since the Depression, the City Council has sought to make changes from the top down. He noted that the cuts are being made to prevent the city from taking the course of action of other cities is laying police and fire.

"The reality is we have a problem," said Mayor Cannella. "Our expenditures still exceed our revenues and we are still seeking to reduce that gap."

On Monday Cannella said Kilger was showing leadership in agreeing to the pay cut. Kilger publicly stated that he was "happy to do this but I would say Mrs. Kilger is not happy about this." He added that he will "make ends meet" as many in the private sector have done since the downturn in the economy.

"I appreciate the opportunity to step up as we find ways of doing everything we can for the community," said Kilger.

Kilger was hired in February 2006 at $150,000 per year. His contract was amended twice, once in 2007 and again in 2008, bringing his salary to $165,000. Cuts to Kilger's compensation package will result in a $40,000 savings to taxpayers and includes a decrease in salary, deferred compensation, vacation and leave. Cannella said the salary reduction is "the first step of many." Ceres city officials have already terminated 19 positions to bring expenses in line with revenues but the city expects more revenue losses as a result of state actions.

A resolution approved in a 5-0 vote on Monday calls for a restoration of compensation and benefits if economic conditions improve "and the city's financial condition warrants."

Vice Mayor Chris Vierra thanked Kilger, saying it "shows leadership and a commitment to our city." Councilman Guillermo Ochoa said it was a "bold move," adding "I know it's difficult but something that needed to be done to show some leadership."

As a result of the city sacking a lot of Kilger's support staff, Cannella said the council is planning to draft Public Safety Director Art deWerk into a role as Deputy City Manager to "get him involved in other areas of the city."

"What that's going to look like when it's all said and done I don't know," said Cannella.

The council will be looking at other cost-cutting measures, including asking employee labor groups for concessions.

The city is projecting a continuation of budget problems and expects a $4.5 million deficit over the next five years.

The soured economy brought about budget problems for most cities due to shrinking sales and property tax revenues.