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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet will receive a pay raise and contract extension as his second year in the position begins.

Today commissioners met in closed session to do reviews on Coudriet and other top county administrators. Afterward they announced Coudriet’s salary will increase to $175,000. He will also get a contract extension to 2017. Coudriet started as county manager June 30, 2012, with a salary of $155,000. A county spokesman says Coudriet’s salary had risen to $159,630 July 1. That means he’s getting a 9.6 percent increase.

Commissioners also approved a three-percent pay hike for County Attorney Wanda Copley, who currently makes $140,300, and Clerk to the Board Sheila Schult, who currently earns $73,047. Schult will also get a $2,700 vehicle allowance.

Earlier the county said Coudriet was to get a 6.5-percent raise. A county spokesman admitted than announcement was “bad math.”

Comment on this Story

  • Todd

    This is ridiculous. First of all Government votes for its own raises across the board. In just about every facet of government they give themselves raises without the vote from the people they serve and collect money from… their employers per say…us Of course that allows for other counties cronies to raise their salaries by using the same old exuse. Its not based on how good the performance is, just what everybody else is making. If you think money = quality your sadly mistaken. We all know that in government this is untrue. Out here in the private industry anyone can tell you that has had their job for a while, its based on production and how well you do. So although we appreciate the same old way for government to figure how much they are going to give themselves some of us are not swallowing it.

  • Jan Christine

    I think all these people make way too much money. I don’t care what other more populated counties managers earn, it is too much. I work for a living and am personally sick and tired of paying for big government, local and federal and for all those who don’t work or pay their share making me do double duty. all of these managers are public servants. if they want more they can go to the private sector and really work for a living. i have worked for the county and realize there are many who do a good job but the reality is those jobs are cush compared to private sector jobs i have had where i had to justify my pay daily. the lack of accountability is what is killing us in this country and it starts at the local level.

  • Curious

    Sitting behind a desk and figuring out how to run a small county is I’m sure very demanding. I wonder if running into burning buildings, seeing everything bad this county has to offer while everyone sleeps or being shot at merits the same compensation? Boo hoo, a manager leaves because of pay, what happens if emergency service workers start to leave due to pay? Some of them are working 2 to 3 jobs to make ends meet. No unions, no job security. Did they do a study for his increase? People wonder why moral is low, protect those that protect you.

  • Vog46

    Private company’s exist to make profits off of goods and services they sell.
    Political figures spend money they arbitrarily collect through taxation.
    Coudriet is given a set amount of money to spend based upon taxes that come into their coffers under a penalty of law for not paying. Company’s can lose clients tomorrow and have NO INCOME from that point forward.
    Coudriet’s job, although stressful is far less stressful than a CEO of a small energy company. Yes it’s high profile because he’s a public figure, supported by public tax dollars. He knew this going into the position. There is NO COMPARISON to the private sector.

    As for the retirement system. Yes he contributes 6% as does the government with their contribution. But that defined pension is guaranteed by the taxpayers. That CEO’s 401K is not guaranteed by anyone.
    Coudriet is an over paid blunderbuss in charge of a bloated county government system that could almost run itself. Given the geographical size of NHC and the number of employees Coudriet’s salary should be capped at a much smaller rate and the subsequent pension costs would go down, albeit slightly. His salary and his raise are both outrageous and undeserved.


  • Facts

    Yeah you’re right. I guess that’s why they founded their association in 1938.


  • Facts

    You are foolish to think he has time to respond to you all. I am an average Joe. You can call me “Joe the Plumber” if that makes you feel any better. I am a taxpayer who understands how much of your life you give away when you are a leader of an organization.

    Here’s a comparison of the public sector salary to the private sector. A Total Energy Services, private company with annual revenues of around $300 million and 900 employees compensates its CEO 525,033 annually. The CEO’s total compensation package is $1,467,007.(NHC estimated revenue this year is around $310 million for those who don’t know.

    You obviously don’t know how the retirement package for NC and local government employees works. Each paycheck 6 percent of an employees salary is deducted and invested. The local government also makes a contribution based on the rate set by the NC Treasury Office.

    The total amount spent on retirement for the NHC County Managers Office in 2013 was around ~$44,700, including contributions for the assistant county mangers and support staff.

  • Vog46

    Based upon county population the bigger counties get more bang for their buck. Look at Dare county’s manager salary – there’s a person that needs to be fired.
    Please look at he retirement benny’s and calculate them into comparisons with private sector employers. The BCBS for life and pension are worth huge sums of money that many people do not take into account when they start comparing public versus private sector jobs.

    County Manager Salary…………county pop……/salary per person
    Brunswick – 175,000……………..112,597………….$1.55
    Catawba – 203,000…………………155,484………….$1.30
    Cumberland – 198,000……………330,700…………..$0.59
    Durham – 197,000…………………..282,511…………..$0.69
    Dare – 239,000…………………………34,810……………$6.86
    Guilford – 183,000…………………502,000……………$0.36
    Mecklenburg – 246,000……………963,000…………..$0.25
    Wake – 229,000………………………945,000……………..$0.24
    Wayne – 220,000…………………….124,915…………….$1.76
    New Hanover 175,000……………209,964…………………$0.83/person


  • GuestBullisht

    Thanks “Facts” for enlightening me. I had NO idea that this scam is that old.

  • Facts part 2

    Thank you for your comment, Mr. Coudriet, or was that from one of your Goon Squad henchmen down the hall in the Palace. So you feel that self important that you deserve to make more than four times the average county employee?

  • GuestBullisht

    Wow, “Facts” you provide statistics for bloated salaries of government officials from a “School of Government” mill which produces them. These are bureaucrats whose job descriptions didn’t even exist 30 years ago. These salary levels for glorified clerks are an insult to taxpayers everywhere.

  • Cant Take It No More

    So I guess we’re getting off cheap, paying this guy over $3000 a week. Trying to figure, if this post is from him, or one of the several, fat cat, cronies.

  • Facts

    I am not one to comment. However, I think we need to clarify some items. First, if we as citizens want a well-run county we need great staff. The pay must be competitive with the private sector or else the county will not retain the most qualified individuals. Think about being a manager. He/she is in charge of 1,500+ employees and hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t know about you, but I want the smartest people managing it all (they expect compensation… look at what a CEO of a similar sized operation makes). If you compare the salaries of other County Managers from across the state, you will see New Hanover is in line with other larger counties. 2012 data is from the UNC School of Government.

    County Manager Salary
    Brunswick – 175,000
    Catawba – 203,000
    Cumberland – 198,000
    Durham – 197,000
    Dare – 239,000
    Guilford – 183,000
    Mecklenburg – 246,000
    Wake – 229,000
    Wayne – 220,000

  • Don Wrong

    “A county spokesman admitted than announcement was “bad math.” Or Bad Spokeswoman, now there is someone who is overpaid.

  • Vog46

    In no particular order.

    The county made a math mistake in the announcement? From 6.5% to 9.6%
    Um, excuse me – I’m sure the “county spokesperson” was TOLD what to say. So who REALLY made the mistake?

    County attorney given a raise to $140,300. considering how much the amotion hearing will cost us and that Woody White is an attorney I would kindly suggest that all attorneys recuse themselves from voting on such things. Did Woody recuse himself?

    It is time for THIS commission to look hard at salaries, especially the higher salaries, and consider a cap on them. I know that the county manager position is fraught with all sorts of responsibilities and problems but for a county our size it seems ludicrous that Coudriet is making $175,000 per year. What is more disturbing is the salary increase is one thing but the retirement benny’s are now going to cost us all a LOT of money over LONG period of time. This is the REAL danger to giving big salary increases to government officials – the retirement payout is based upon your highest 3 or 5 years of salary.

    Woody White should be “amotioned” out of office for fiscal irresponsibility!


  • creativeendeavor

    I am a firm believer that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. All county employees should get a 6.5% raise. Was that a COLA or merit? What was the increast on July 1? No other county employees got that raise. Does he work for the county?

  • gamps1945

    This is great. My old self. Working hard, for minimum wage.

    Between this guy’s 150K salary, and the thousands of perfectly, able-bodied people, “disabled”, like Ricky Meeks, out there, I have to scrimp and save, just to eat.

    1/4 of my badly needed pay, goes to these guys, to live high on the hog.

  • Guest2468

    So the Commissioners give all of the other employees a CHANCE at a 1.5% pay raise this year depending on how they did, but he gets 6% to keep his pay competitive? 1.5% of 30k is $450!!!!!! If you’re gonna give the boss a raise, why not make it the SAME that HE wants to give everybody else? Oh, and they’re spending money to do a pay study just to find out how far BEHIND the rest of the country county employees are from the market average, but that won’t be finished until later. Next year if all of the county salaries aren’t adjusted to what the study says, I’m guessing the HR department better be ready for a busy year of hiring to fill all of the spots from people leaving. The rich get richer & the poor get poorer

  • Dumbfounded

    So tell me how I read that the Sheriff Office can’t find anyone from the county or school board to help pay for the additional SRO’s in our schools. These Deputies are placed there to protect our children, and be a figure of mentorship to them, but we can pay this guy another 10k to his salary. I can’t believe how some of this sneaky bs happens with our tax dollars. Our sheriff wants to help make these schools be safer, but we can’t do that because someone else is using these tax dollars in a careless manner. Concerned parent over here.

  • Guest63

    Can’t wait to see what the city has in store for its hard working teachers!!

  • LynjeaP

    When exactly do the peons have the time to sit in on the meetings when they work when most of those meetings are held! The county employees get nothing compared to these people! They don’t care about anyone except the people who give them their money and those who manage it for them. I would love to have enough to manage for more than a few hours on payday! It would be nice if that money was put in the budget for those who actually keep the city moving! Not those sitting behind a desk. Let them work one day in the sewers, getting shot at, on a fire truck, or keeping the lawns of the county, or any other county job! Thank you to each and every one of you who keep everything going from one day to the next!

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