CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Charlotte City Council approved a significant raise for the city’s highest-paid employee. Effective July 2023, City Manager Marcus Jones will earn $434,551 annually.

Charlotte’s government functions under a council-manager structure.

Jones gives weekly updates at the council meeting. He reports to the council, which hired him to implement policy decisions like staying within the budget.

The city manager also oversees the daily operations of 18 departments, including police, fire, and CATS.

Jones’ salary makes him the highest-paid employee in Charlotte’s history earning $208.92 an hour. This raise is a more than $50,000 retroactive pay raise for 2022 and 2023.

Only some council members agreed to the deal.

Council members Braxton Winston, Reneé Johnson, and LaWana Mayfield voted against giving the city manager a raise.

“We’re saying that we’re willing to allocate all this money for an individual, yes he does a great job,” Mayfield said. “For a city our size, this is truly a level of not hearing what is going on in our community.”

Sitting next to City Manager Jones in Monday’s council meeting, council member Mayfield expressed concerns about the nearly half-a-million-dollar salary.

For comparison, Raleigh’s city manager makes $294,525. The president of the United States makes $400,000.

“I think council is showing a level of being tone deaf to the issues we have,” Mayfield said. “Yes, our manager does a great job, but he is doing his job.”

Jones will get some of his pay raise starting now, and the remainder will kick in by July of 2023.

If council approves, he will have another performance review in 2023, opening the door for another pay raise.

A spokesman from the City of Charlotte provided a list of City Manager Marcus Jones’ accomplishments over the past two years:

  • The budgets have been balanced and have received unanimous or near-unanimous Council approval.
  • There has been no property tax increase for four years and of the five largest cities in the state, Charlotte is the only one without a property tax increase over the past four years and has the lowest tax rate. Four of the other five largest cities have increased taxes twice in four years.
  • The city maintained delivery of services through COVID without dipping into reserves and the city has maintained is triple AAA bond rating.
  • The city is in a strong fiscal position to address a possible recession and be able to support and provides resources for the community and residents.
  • Thanks to careful planning and long-term strategy, the City still has ARPA funds available [i.e., not obligated or earmarked for specific uses], for Council to determine the best/highest use. This approach will help protect the community from additional impacts from the pandemic/financial stress.
  • In FY22 the Housing Trust Fund supported 1,217 housing units, 200 housing units were rehabilitated through city housing rehabilitation programs for low-income city residents, and 97 families purchased homes with House Charlotte homeownership assistance.
  • The Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resell Program was a new initiative launched in 2021 to help keep homes affordable, build generational wealth and help buyers compete with institutional investors. To date, 25 units have been purchased.
  • City Council adopted the 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the Unified Development Ordinance which will bring better housing opportunities, equitable and safe mobility options, protect and enhance our natural environment, support economic opportunities, and enhance and retain our neighborhood character. 
  • Created and initiated the SAFE Charlotte plan which includes the Alternatives to Violence program, launching the Community Assistance: Respond, Engage, Support (CARES) Team to provide a civilian response to mental health, substance abuse and homelessness calls for service, and provided grants to community-based organizations to create stable, supportive environments that mitigate underlying causes of violence and promote economic mobility.
  • Council approved a renewed partnership with Hornets Sports Entertainment to invest in significant improvements in the Spectrum Center which will keep the Hornets in Charlotte long-term and make the Spectrum Center a more attractive venue for other sports and entertainment events and opportunities.
  • Council also approved a public-private partnership with Mecklenburg County and Atrium Health to ensure the creation of a four-year medical school in Charlotte and the development of a medical innovation campus, which could create more than 5,500 onsite jobs – 40 percent of which are not expected to require a college degree – and more than 11,500 jobs, in total, in the Charlotte community, over the next 15 years.
  • Broke ground on the Eastland Mall development, ending nearly a decade of work and beginning the redevelopment of a critically important project for the economic development of East Charlotte.
  • Awarded $2.5M in grants to 11 small business ecosystem partner organizations to support hundreds of local small businesses with project, programs, and services.