By Jack Mayne The Des Moines City Council has approved a new aviation advisory committee – to be chaired by the city manager, as well as a pay increase for City Manager Michael Matthias after an “overwhelmingly positive” nine months on the job. The Council at its regular meeting Thursday (May 11) considered and unanimously approved a single step pay increase for Matthias, and approval for him to cash out 80 hours of unused and earned sick leave, approximately $6,420. Both options are spelled out in Matthias’ employment agreement. $10k pay hike The changes were contingent upon a “satisfactory employment review” which permits the Council to increase his current annual pay of $153,900 to $163,200 as well as the unused sick leave money. Councilmember Dave Kaplan said that based on his performance evaluation, the increase should be approved. Councilmember Melissa Musser, who originally was the lone vote against Matthias’s appointment as city manager, said, “if I had to do it over again, it would be 7-0.” “At every turn you have impressed me with your candor, your honesty, your patience and your ability to look at a situation and have creative solutions that I don’t think any of the Council members would have even come up with,” she said. Councilmember Rob Back said he was “pleasantly surprised with the job you are doing and I have no question about approving this pay increase… I think our city is privileged to have you at the helm.” Mayor Pina said Matthias has brought all of the disparate factions of the city together so everyone knows that what happens in one area affects other parts of the city. The Council agreed 5 to 0, with Councilmember Luisa Bangs and Deputy Mayor Victor Pennington having excused absentees. Quiet Skies The Council had planned to hear from the Burien Quiet Skies chairman, Larry Cripe, regarding Sea-Tac Airport noise and other problems, but Cripe was ill and not available, said Mayor Matt Pina. City Manager Michael Matthias said he and the mayor have had many recent discussions with Cripe and “we are just excited at some of the mutual interests” about airport noise and flight patterns. Matthias said Cripe was intending to “strongly, strongly support the action that the city will be taking to create the Aviation Advisory Committee,” something the full Council did right after the subject was mentioned. Pina did suggest that Matthias chair the aviation committee “because the city manager needs to be connected and involved with this happening.” That will give Councilmembers the freedom to attend meetings “but it also makes sure that we have a direct connect” with the committee. The Council also approved appointment of Rondi Marsh to an unexpired three-year term on the Arts Commission.]]>