NEWPORT — The City Council unanimously approved Wednesday night a three-year contract extension for City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson Jr. without any discussion.
Nicholson began serving as the permanent city manager in April 2016, and his current contract does not expire until June 30, 2019. The council extended his contract until June 30, 2022.
When Nicholson entered the first contract, he was earning $178,500 a year. His salary in the upcoming years will be discussed with the council members at a future date, Nicholson said.
“I enjoy working with the public, with the city staff and with the City Council,” Nicholson said after the meeting. “It’s a great place to be.”
Asked how long he thought he might be on the job, Nicholson said, “My father worked until he was 90 years old. I’m going to be here a long time, hopefully.”
All the terms of Nicholson’s current contract other than the salary will be carried over into the contract extension.
Nicholson was on the council docket with a communication requesting a contract extension.
“I am of the opinion that while an executive session could be appropriate, I have nothing that I need to discuss privately with you,” he wrote. “I am not looking for any change in the content at this time.”
Contract extensions often are discussed in executive sessions, which are closed to the public, especially if evaluations are involved.
Nicholson served as city solicitor from 1985 until July 25, 2014, when he became interim city manager after former City Manager Jane Howington resigned. He had previously served in stints as interim city manager and also was an attorney with his own practice.
The council made two attempts to solicit candidates for the city manager position in 2015 and early in 2016 before Nicholson finally said he would accept the job. Council members first offered him the job in the summer of 2015, but he declined, saying he wanted to continue with his law practice. He gave up his law practice upon being named city manager.
“The employee agrees to remain in the exclusive employ of the city during the term of this agreement,” his contract says.