By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday approved a new contract for City Attorney Caroline Fowler on Tuesday night that increases her base salary by nearly 10 percent but reduces her pay by the same amount in other ways.
Fowler is the second-highest-paid official in the city after City Manager Kathy Millison.
Her new contract calls for her to make a base salary of $185,250 per year, nearly 10 percent more than her previous contract of $167,520.
The council signed off the contract changes Tuesday night, a week after widely praising Fowler for her work ethic, patience and compassion during a tumultuous year.
Fowler, 52, took over as city attorney in 2008. At that time, her contract called for her to receive a 5 percent salary bump if the council felt she was meeting their expectations. She was, but because of the budget crunch, Fowler deferred that raise.
Now she’s getting it, but it’s being offset by her agreement to take a furlough like other members of the city’s executive staff. The 96 hours of unpaid time off amounts to 4.6 percent decrease in salary.
Similarly, Fowler is receiving another 5 percent salary increase to offset a change in her retirement benefits that requires her to pay 5 percent of her salary toward her retirement. Previously the city had been paying Fowler’s contribution to CalPERS.