Mystery continues to surround whether the contract of Cheryl Harrison-Lee, city administrator, will be renewed or whether she has been selected by the Lawrence Commission as city manager, who had not publicly named their final selection at press time.
The Gardner city council has met twice in closed meeting to discuss the administrator’s contract, but they did not make a statement regarding any actions taken upon reopening in regular session.
The council recessed into a 15 minute executive session during their regular meeting Jan. 4, and also spent two hours in closed session at a special meeting Dec. 30.
According to Jeanne Koontz, city clerk, all council members were present at the special meeting. No motion was made following the executive session nor was a statement made providing direction to city staff.
Under the terms of Cheryl Harrison-Lee’s contract, it will automatically renew unless the council informs her otherwise. Prior to the special meeting Chris Morrow, mayor said because she is a finalist for the Lawrence city manager position, it makes sense for the council to get together.
“Her contract will automatically renew in March, unless informed otherwise by the first of the year,” Morrow said. Beyond that, Morrow declined comment.
Under the terms of the March 2013 contract, base salary at that time was about $124,000; with successful performance evaluations base salary would be increased 7 percent in 2014, 6 percent in 2015 and 6 percent in 2016. Harrison-Lee was also eligible for an annual bonus of 5 percent of base salary. Base salary does not include auto allowance, professional dues or pension.
Harrison-Lee, Gardner city administrator, was recently named one of three top finalists for the Lawrence city manager position.
Although the Lawrence commission hired a new city manager in mid December while in executive session, they are withholding the name until salary negotiations are final. Once negotiations are complete, the new city manager’s contract must be approved during a public meeting.