Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Feb. 7, 2023

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Clark County Manager Otto’s pay to climb 20% over 3 years

Otto 'has earned it,’ Medvigy says

By , Columbian staff writer

County Manager Kathleen Otto will see per pay go up by more than 20 percent over the next three years under a new contract approved Tuesday by the Clark County Council.

Otto currently makes $180,000 a year, according to county records. Under the new contract, her salary rill rise to $198,000 in 2023, $207,900 in 2024 and $218,925 in 2025 — an overall increase of $38,925 between her current and 2025 salary.

Council Chair Karen Bowerman said the salary numbers were given a lot of thought. She said county Human Resources Director William Winfield had been tasked with comparing Otto’s current salary to county manager salaries in similar-sized counties.

“There’s no doubt there are some communities where it is considerably higher for the county manager, but our county, at this time, we felt that this was an appropriate level for us to come close to meeting the center of those comps,” Bowerman said.

The council did not share the results of the compensation study with the public. Winfield did not attend the meeting.

Otto has worked at the county for slightly more than six years, first serving as director of human resources before moving into the role of deputy county manager in 2019. In February 2021, Otto was appointed county manager after serving as the interim manager since March 2020.

Otto’s duties as county manager include presenting the county’s annual fiscal and governmental affairs to the county council, preparing an annual budget, establishing the organizational structure and duties of administrative departments, collective bargaining on behalf of the county, managing properties owned by the county and signing contracts assigned by the council, among many others.

Councilor Gary Medvigy said the council has a great working relationship with Otto, which proved invaluable as the county faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Medvigy said Otto’s first week on the job was the same week the county offices were closed to the public because of the pandemic, adding she did an outstanding job navigating the difficulties that closure created.

“Our comps show that she is underpaid. She, herself, is not demanding this salary increase. It is the council as a whole that believes she has earned it,” Medvigy said. “And we want to keep her.”

Otto holds a bachelor’s degree is business administration from the University of Portland and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix in Arizona.