Stuart contract specifies a raise, plans for the next

Ridgefield offers a $4,000 boost, more after a review

By Justin Runquist, Columbian small cities reporter



Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart will get a pay bump when he assumes his new position as Ridgefield's top administrator.

The Ridgefield native, 42, will start as city manager April 14 at a base annual salary of $110,000, almost $4,000 more than he makes at the county.

Ridgefield officials had advertised a salary range of $105,000 to $125,000 for the position before deciding Thursday to offer the job to Stuart. He will be eligible for a 7.5 percent raise based on a job performance review after the first year, according to his contract.

The Ridgefield City Council unanimously voted Thursday night to make Stuart the new manager. Mayor Ron Onslow said he liked the other finalist, Assistant Vancouver Police Chief Chris Sutter, but thought Stuart had the kind of strong, forward-looking strategy that he and other city leaders wanted from their next manager.

Stuart has spent the last decade on the board of commissioners, where he has been the lone Democrat since Tom Mielke replaced Betty Sue Morris in 2009. In January, Stuart announced that he wouldn't seek another term after a year of bitter rivalry with Republican commissioners Mielke and David Madore.

Stuart has signed on for an indefinite term of employment with Ridgefield. For now, he lives in Vancouver's Hough neighborhood, but the contract stipulates that he'll have to move to Ridgefield within a year of his first day on the job.

After Stuart leaves the county, Mielke and Madore will have 60 days to appoint a new commissioner.