Teresa Wilson's contract as new city manager approved - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Teresa Wilson's contract as new city manager approved

Assistant City Manager Teresa Wilson Assistant City Manager Teresa Wilson
Steve Gantt (Source: City of Columbia) Steve Gantt (Source: City of Columbia)

Columbia City Council has voted 4 - 2 in favor of approving the contract hiring assistant city manager Teresa Wilson as the new, full-time city manager.

Wilson will earn an annual salary of $190,000. She has agreed to an employment contract set to commence on Jan. 8.

Councilmembers Moe Baddourah and Leona Plaugh voted against Wilson's contract.

The contract states Wilson, who was making $119,850 as of July 1, 2012, will receive a base salary of $190,000 plus full city benefits and the use of a city vehicle.

Steve Gantt, the city's current city manager, is making $175,000. If council members approve Wilson's contract, they will also vote to approve the conclusion of Gantt's employment with the city.

Gantt has been interim city manager since February of 2009. He announced in July that he was going to retire, but would spend the last six months of his employment training a new city manager.

In late December, council voted 5-2 in favor of hiring Wilson over 26 other applicants.

Council members Moe Baddourah and Leona Plaugh were not in favor of promoting Wilson.

Plaugh said city council was looking for a candidate that has strong leadership and manager skills at an executive level; the ability to evaluate and recruit employees; ability to advise council on water and sewer matters; and guide the city's 2,100 employees using policies set by city council.

"The candidate before us is indeed a bright, articulate and talented individual," Plaugh said in December, "but is inexperienced in many of those areas. Therefore, my concern is that she is not the most qualified candidate."

Wilson said becoming a manager is something she has aspired to do and thinks her economic development goals are in line with the city.

"I do have the perspective of the city's needs and understanding of the vision to make the city of Columbia the most entrepreneurial city in the Southeast, if not the nation," Wilson said, adding the city wants to bring more businesses and high-paying jobs to the area.

Wilson said she would assess her team and find ways to "beef up" the city's efforts toward customer service by engaging the staff and create a more business-oriented group of employees.

Wilson's current job involves economic and community development and government affairs for the city. She started a career at the City of Columbia six years ago as a coordinator for government affairs and has been assistant city manager for about two years.

Late Monday, Mayor Benjamin's office released a list of city managers' salaries for cities throughout the region that was used to negotiate the salary for Wilson. According to the document, Charlotte pays its city manager $257,698, Greenville's city manager salary is $158,704, and the city manager of Savannah makes $190,575.

The Mayor's office also noted that Richland County recently approved a $181,000 salary for newly-hired County Administrator Tony McDonaled, including a $9,000 vehicle allowance.

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