Colusa City manager receives hefty pay increase 

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The Colusa City Council last week approved a new contract for City Manager/Public Works Director Jesse Cain, which will make him one of the highest paid administrators for a city with a population around 6,000 people. 

The City Council approved a $15,719 per month salary for Cain, with an annual $500 increase for the next five years, contingent of a positive yearly review. 

The $188,628 annual salary is second in the area only to Gridley, population 6,613, whose City Manager’s salary is about $202,000, plus benefits. 

The new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 and will expire on Jan. 1, 2026, officials said. 

Cain rose through the ranks in the Public Works Department following the fallout from the Jan McClintock administration (See Redevelopment Agency in the Feb. 5 edition of the Pioneer Review). McClintock was shown the door in 2012, followed by the Public Works Director five months later. 

Cain replaced City Manger Randy Dunn, on April 4, 2017. Cain, like Dunn, served multiple administrative rolls, and City Council members said at their Jan 21 meeting that they couldn’t be happier with the arrangement. 

“Jesse has been doing two or three jobs for a number of years now,” said Councilman Greg Ponciano. “I think he’s proven to me that we can move forward in our structure as a city.”

Ponciano said salaries (with accompanying benefits) for “stand alone” department managers are no longer affordable for Colusa. 

In 2012, the last time the city had all “stand alone” department heads, the city manager was paid $99,677 plus benefits for a total of $129,201. At the same time, the city employed a Public Works Director, $78,494 ($100,363), and a Water/Wastewater Plant Manager, $68,590 ($90,394), according to Transparent California. 

Ponciano said by eliminating some of the “stand alone” positions, the city saves “a hell of a lot of money” and that he felt comfortable going forward with Cain’s new pay structure. 

Mayor Josh Hill agreed. 

The City Council approved the new contract by a vote of 4-0. Councilman Tom Reische was absent. ■