El Portal Village Manager Jason Walker has received a one-time bonus worth more than $10,000, but some residents aren't supporting it.
The Village Council approved an $11,000 one-time bonus at this month’s regular meeting on Dec. 16. Council members Aubrey Brunson and Roxanne Isaacs voted against it.
Walker, whose salary is $85,995, including car and cellphone allowance, has never received a raise since he started working at the village in 2006.
“I have never received any salary adjustment since my employment here 8 years ago,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The majority of El Portal employees have received a 31% raise in that same period.”
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Former mayor and resident Daisy Black said Walker doesn’t deserve the bonus.
“My time with him as a manager did not show any reason he should get a raise,” she wrote in an e-mail. “He has not completed negotiations with contractor of the trailer park and leaves the village in a vulnerable position because the reserve fund he is getting his raise from is supposed to be for emergencies for the village.”
However, Councilman Harold Mathis says the money will come from general funds and Walker is more than deserving of the bonus.
“He is someone that has been there for the village and has made sacrifices for the village,” he said in phone interview. “He deserves it so I say ‘give it to him’ he deserves it.”
Vice Mayor Omarr Nickerson offered the bonus instead of a raise so it would not have recurring impact on the budget.
Since he started, Walker said some of his highlights as village manager include maintaining the lowest tax rates in more than 20 years; increased cash reserve from $146,000 to a $1 million; and secured over $800,000 in state funding for storm drainage improvements among others.
Resident Lauren Christos said she supports the bonus.
“I hope you know how many of us appreciate you and all you have done for our village,” she said. “You are most deserving of this bonus.”