RIVERDALE -- By a narrow vote, the city council extended the city administrator's contract through 2014.
City Administrator Larry Hansen's current four-year contract was set to expire June 30, 2012, but the council voted 3-2 this week to extend the contract by two and a half years.
"In the seven years I have served in this capacity, I have tried to provide a faithful performance," Hansen said. "As time rolls on and I draw closer to my retirement age, having this agreement is important to me."
The expertise he could lend the city in the future is worth keeping him around, said Mayor Bruce Burrows.
He said 2013 looms as an important year in the Legislature, as it's when sales tax decisions crucial to Riverdale may be made.
"I don't want to lose Larry as the guiding factor of our city through this difficult time," Burrows said. "It is not time to change horses."
Councilman David Gibby agreed.
"We have key and important issues that are pending. We've got to readdress the Legislature to keep our sales tax in line. I don't want to send someone new to the Legislature. That would be incredibly difficult," he said. "I want someone seasoned and who knows what he is doing."
With three council members' seats expiring this year, extending the contract through 2014 would reduce their options on the administrator's contract, Councilwoman Shelly Jenkins said.
"We are removing the ability for the next council coming in to have a choice," she said.
Some council members were worried about the financial promises the contract would be extending.
"We are at a time now in the city where revenues are down. We are all aware and concerned about it," Jenkins said.
"I would like to see Hansen stay as long as he absolutely wants," Councilman Alan Arnold said. "But our responsibility is to watch the budget as well."
"This is about a position, not a person," said Jenkins, who cast one of two nay votes.
Despite his nay vote and questioning Hansen's $600-per-month car allowance, Arnold offered words of praise for Hansen.
"I'm not critical about performance. I think you are wonderful at what you do," Arnold said. "I don't think you're going to leave the city and what you've built."
As city administrator, Hansen is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city, implementing decisions made by the governing body and advising on matters of policy and procedure. All city employees report to Hansen.
Hansen is allowed 21 days of vacation leave. If terminated, Hansen's severance package would allow him to be paid his usual monthly salary for 12 months as well as have his vacation and sick hours cashed out.
Hansen's annual salary is $121,436, according to the Utah's Right to Know website, www.utahsright.com.