Submitted by the city of Gardner
With an annual base salary of $150,000 Jim Pruetting, city administrator, received more than $142,000 gross wages from his April date of hire thru Dec. 31, 2019.
According to Pruetting’s contract, he receives a base of $12,500 per month, plus a $500 car allowance. When he was hired to replace Cheryl Harrison-Lee, he was also provided a $3,000 “grossed up” one time down payment for a vehicle; plus tuition and book payment for education. Once his education is complete, he may receive a $15,000 bonus.
Also in his contract is an “annexation” bonus; and in the eight months as administrator this year, Pruetting will collect an additional $12,000 “grossed up” bonus.
“Grossed up” means rather than taxes being withheld from the paycheck, they are added to the base amount.
His 2019 annexation bonus, grossed up, cost city coffers $12,143; and the $3,000 auto down payment $4,083, according to the Gardner finance department. Monies paid to outside agencies on Pruetting’s behalf include: Travel/Conference $1,972.19 and Education/Tuition $3,411.50.
According to a Kansas Open Records Request, Pruetting grossed $142,030 in 2019.
If that same amount were averaged over 12 months, his annual salary would be $17,750 per month or $213,000.
Harrison-Lee’s final contract was $161,000 (with car allowance, $167,000.) She did not receive a stipend for books and tuition. Her salary was not “grossed up,” and her contract did not allow for an “annexation bonus.”
When her employment ended in September, 2018, she received a $300,000 payout. Under Harrison-Lee’s separation agreement there were possible other additional payments –- for 20 percent of her accrued, unused sick leave and 18 months of COBRA.
For the years 2018 and 2019, the city of Gardner paid more than $530,000 towards the city administrator position, not including seven months pay for the interim administrator, which was about $9,556 per month.