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Charlotte city manager’s total pay rockets upward to nearly $490,000 annually

City Manager Marcus Jones
Charlotte Mecklenburg
Government Channel
City Manager Marcus Jones

The Charlotte City Council and Mayor Vi Lyles voted Monday to increase the total compensation for Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones to nearly $490,000, continuing a trend of escalating pay for the city’s top official.

Ten years ago, former Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton’s compensation totaled $258,000 a year.

When Jones was hired in 2016, his total compensation was $329,000.

And now, after Monday’s council vote, Jones’ base salary will be $434,511. He also receives a special deferred compensation of $32,2000 in addition to his standard 3% 401(k) match.

And Jones receives a $5,700 annual auto stipend and a $3,100 expense allowance.

Council members and Lyles voted 9-3 in favor of the pay bump, which equals a roughly 14% raise over the last two years. Jones did not receive a pay increase last year.

Three council members voted no, including Renee Johnson, Braxton Winston and LaWana Mayfield, who said she thinks Jones is doing a good job. But she said the salary increase is too much.

“I am not going to be able to support this particular motion,” Mayfield said during the meeting. “This particular amount is very difficult with all of the challenges that we have heard from the community. I think council is showing a level of being tone deaf.”

Jones and City Council have worked to raise the pay of their lowest-paid employees. They received an 8 percent salary increase this year, along with a 2% lump payment.

The average pay increase for salaried employees was 4%.

Council member Ed Driggs, who voted in favor of the increase, said he thinks Jones is doing a good job “considering the difficult circumstances” of the past two years, such as COVID-19. He said the council’s pay decision was based, in part, on what other managers are making nationwide.

Earlier this year, Mecklenburg Commissioners voted to give County Manager Dena Diorio a 5% raise and a $20,0000 bonus, bringing her total compensation to nearly $500,000.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.