Mike McKibbin

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April 3, 2013
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Sturgeon officially hired as Rifle city manager

Matt Sturgeon was unanimously approved as Rifle's next city manager by five of the city's seven City Council members at their March 20 meeting.

Councilmembers Jennifer Sanborn and Rich Carter were absent from the meeting.

Sturgeon, now the assistant city manager and previously the city planner, will follow John Hier as the head of Rifle's city government, when Hier retires on May 10.

Sturgeon will be paid an annual salary of $106,000, under the terms of a three-year contract that will expire in 2016, but it can be extended by the council each year.

The city will also contribute 7 percent of Sturgeon's base salary to the city's 401(k) retirement plan, and agreed to increase his salary for cost of living adjustments and merit raises at the same amount as all other city employees.

The city will also provide Sturgeon with employee health, medical and life insurance equal to that provided all other city employees.

Sturgeon will also receive a $250 per month vehicle allowance for the use of his own vehicle for city business. If Sturgeon is required to use his personal vehicle for travel beyond a 100-mile radius, the city will reimburse him at the standard city mileage reimbursement rate.

City Attorney Jim Neu said Sturgeon's contract follows a standard form among municipalities and city managers, including compensation.

"Matt was already here, so it was a little easier," he said. "When you bring in a manager from some place else, it usually takes a while. Matt knew exactly what he was getting into."

The contract calls for Sturgeon's work to be reviewed after seven months, and then annually at the end of January.

The City Council can terminate Sturgeon's contract and employment at any time, but not 90 days before or after a municipal election. And Sturgeon must be given written notice of deficiencies and six months to address those deficiencies.

If Sturgeon is let go, he is entitled to severance pay equal to three times his average gross monthly salary, plus three months of accrued leave time and insurance benefits.

However, the city is under no obligation to give any reason for a termination without cause.

If Sturgeon decides to resign as city manager, he must give the city 30 days written notice, unless the City Council otherwise agrees.

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 3, 2013 06:21PM Published Apr 3, 2013 06:19PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.