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Ashland city manager receives raise

Ashland City Council approved a pay raise Tuesday for City Manager Joe Lessard, bumping his pay from $163,477 a year to $171,651.

The raise was a part of Lessard’s contract, Sabrina Cotta, deputy city manager, told the council.

Six months into Lessard’s work with the city, his contract stipulates, if he passes his performance review, he will receive a raise, Cotta said.

Lessard’s performance review was held July 19, and the council unanimously gave a positive review.

“Joe has performed wonderfully in a tough job; I hope he continues,” Councilor Stephen Jensen said.

“I appreciate that you’re open-minded. I’ve changed your mind, and you’ve changed my mind,” Councilor Gina DuQuenne said. “I hope that you continue to be brave because it’s not an easy job you have. I wouldn’t want your job.”

Mayor Julie Akins also said she would not want Lessard’s job.

“No one seems to want this job,” Lessard said with a laugh.

Councilor Shaun Moran said Lessard has performed admirably in a tough job, but Moran said he contacted an acquaintance who specializes in recruitment and retention for chief executive officers.

“I asked him, how often in your career have you ... seen a CEO in a job for six months get a raise? And he said he had never seen anything like that. It’s in your contract; I get it. God bless your cotton socks,” said Moran, adding that the raise doesn’t send the right message to the community.

Councilor Tonya Graham, who voiced appreciation for Lessard, said the time to have a conversation about any concerns in the contract was before the contract was signed.

Councilor Stefani Seffinger echoed the praise of Lessard’s ability to hold important conversations and told him to keep going.

The pay raise for Lessard was approved with Councilor Moran voting against the motion.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.

Correction: This story has been revised to say that Councilor Moran voted against the motion.