Toledo City Manager Judy Richter received a surprise last week when the Toledo City Council voted unanimously to award her with a $10,000 bonus during its regular meeting on Oct. 6.

Mayor Rod Cross worked to keep the bonus a surprise up until the meeting, with the rest of the council having nothing but positive reviews of Richter’s work over the last year.

Richter was hired as city manager from her previous position as the city’s finance director and has not hired a replacement since, meaning she currently fulfills both roles, as well as doing work from the vacant human resources position.

Richter’s annual salary is $103,000, and it’s customary for city staff to receive a raise after their annual performance review, according to Cross. While Richter received no such raise after her review last February, she was lauded for her work over the last year, and the council was quick to vote in favor of the bonus with no arguments.

“Judy’s work, since she came on over 18 months ago in February, I believe has helped the city of Toledo get more done than not just any other city our size, but any city even remotely our size in Oregon,” Cross said. “We’ve gotten more done over the course of the pandemic I think than just about anyone else in the state.

“We have an outstanding crew at city hall, as well as the fire department and the police department,” Cross continued. “Things are running better than they’ve run within the last 15 years. We didn’t give her a raise after her performance evaluation in February, and now I would like to give her a bonus instead.”

Richter told News-Times staff after the meeting that the bonus was a complete surprise, but she was happy to accept it.

When asked what some of her biggest challenges and achievements have been during her time with the city so far, Richter said the most difficult thing has been managing the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to keep up with the various state and federal guidelines along the way.

Richter said her greatest achievement so far was likely the creation and implementation of the city’s new urban renewal district, which was approved by the council this summer and will fund several capital projects in Toledo over the next decade, including the renovation of a new public safety building. 

Cross previously told News-Times staff that he had hoped to create such a district during his previous stint as mayor 10 years ago, but was unable to pull it together until now.

Richter added she has also been heavily involved with the city’s auditing process during the three years she has worked for Toledo, participating in the last three audit filings and ensuring they were filed correctly and in a timely manner.

Other notable items from the meeting:

• The council approved $280,000 to fund water main replacements and street improvements throughout the city, as well as $71,000 in street improvement overlays.

• The council tabled the discussion of the Toledo Employees Association Collective Bargaining Agreement as the most recent iteration of the agreement wasn’t approved by the employee union.

• The council held a public hearing to amend its municipal code with several changes to encourage affordable housing development within Toledo. With no public comment, the changes were approved by the council.

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