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Mayor, council's review of Tucson city manager finds that he ‘exceeded expectations’
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Mayor, council's review of Tucson city manager finds that he ‘exceeded expectations’

City Manager Michael Ortega

Michael Ortega Tucson city manager

During an executive session Tuesday, the Tucson City Council conducted a contract and performance review of City Manager Michael Ortega, determining that he has “met and exceeded expectations” in his role.

Ortega is making $230,000 a year in his current contract, making him one of the highest-paid government administrators in Pima County. In comparison, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry earns $301,000 in annual salary.

Ortega will also receive a $5,000 salary increase in October.

The performance evaluation, requested by Mayor Regina Romero, comes six months into the pandemic, which has added to the city manager’s extensive fiscal and administrative responsibilities.

”As with any job, the city manager is subject to an annual performance review by his supervisors. In this case, the supervisors are mayor and council who set policy he is tasked with implementing. An annual performance review is a valuable exercise for both our city manager and mayor and council to provide feedback to improve city government,” Romero said. “Mike has done a great job in helping guide our city through a tumultuous time and I know he is the right person for the job as we transition to recovery.”

While Ortega’s contract includes a provision that calls for an annual review, the mayor and council can, and often do, opt to forgo that process. Since being hired in 2015, this is the first time that someone other than Ortega himself has requested a performance evaluation.

“From 2009 when I was first elected until we hired Mike Ortega, we went through two city managers and an interim,” said Councilman Steve Kozachik. “That process showed not only how difficult it is to find someone of Mike’s caliber, but also how important the position is to running the city organization. We’ve been on a good path under the leadership of him and the team he has assembled. It was absolutely the right thing to do to send Mike a positive message in his review.”

Ortega previously served as the Cochise County administrator and the city manager of Douglas.

Contact reporter Jasmine Demers at jdemers@tucson.com

On Twitter: @JasmineADemers

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