2013-08-29 / Front Page

City Manager Gets Raise

By Tom Shevlin

City Manager Jane Howington is getting a raise.

After just about 18 months on the job, City Council members on Wednesday voted to give Newport’s chief management officer a 3.65 percent raise.

Citing strides in the city’s communication efforts, economic development initiatives, and progress in addressing interdepartmental efficiencies, councilors said the raise was well earned.

Leading up to the vote, however, some expressed concern over the size of the raise, which totals $5,000, bringing Howington’s total compensation from $135,000 to $140,000.

Councilor Michael T. Farley said that while he understood the desire to reward Howington, he questioned whether the raise would send the wrong message to department heads, who recently received raises of roughly two percent.

However, when broken down over the course of Howington’s full 18 months, the 3.65 percent increase falls closer in line with that number.

Prior to coming to Newport in January of 2012, Howington had accumulated over 20 years of service in municipal government, most recently as city manager in Kalispell, Mont., a tourist destination for visitors to Glacier National Park.

Since taking her place at City Hall, she has taken a workmanlike approach to her duties, responding to council requests and seeking out savings where possible.

Moving forward, Howington has a full plate, with tasks like overseeing upgrades to the city’s technology infrastructure and pursuing further shared services with the School Department on the top of her list.

In other business, councilors extended a hearty congratulations to their counterparts in Middletown, where town officials were recently recognized by Google as Rhode Island’s 2013 eCity of America.

Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop declared in a formal resolution: “The City Council and City Administration congratulate the Town of Middletown, its Council and members of the township administration for the hard work and leadership they bring to Aquidneck Island in the area of moving us forward toward a vibrant technology center that benefits our residents, businesses, and visitors.”

With upgrading its own technology systems as a long-stated goal for the city, it’s likely that councilors in Newport might be hoping to give Middletown a run for its money in next year’s competition.

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