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VOL. 113 | NO. 62 | Monday, March 29, 1999

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A contract for the new president of the Center City Commission was approved and negotiations concerning the most recent past CCC president were discussed during the regular board meeting Friday CCC president will get $125,000 plus bonus By KATHLEEN BURT The Daily News A contract for the new president of the Center City Commission was approved and negotiations concerning a settlement with the most recent past CCC president were discussed during the regular board meeting Friday. An employment agreement for Jeff Sanford was unanimously adopted by the board, ending two months of negotiations. Five voting members present approved a two-year contract with an annual salary of $125,000, an opportunity for a 10 percent bonus and other incentives after a discussion of the bonus clause. State Sen. Steve Cohen, who said he "doesnt believe in bonuses for government employees" sought to amend the contract by splitting the maximum available bonus in half and adding it to the base salary, making it $131,250 per year. "Jeffs going to do the job. He doesnt need a bonus to do the job, and he doesnt need one to do a great job," Cohen said. The amendment died for lack of a second. With that motion off the table, Cohen and the other members present approved the contract. Cohen expressed concern that awarding a bonus each year becomes a friendship issue not a job-based performance issue. The awarding of bonuses is one of the matters tied with past president and chief executive officer Ed Armentrout. "That was the problem before. Bonuses were given that this board was not aware of," board member Tom Jones said. Negotiations with Armentrout also were discussed during the meeting. Coming out of executive session, Memphis city attorney Robert Spence said negotiations regarding reimbursement of expenses were nearing completion and a settlement may be brought to the next board meeting for consideration. During the meeting, the board also heard a presentation from Steve Ethridge regarding a study of Downtown employment. Ethridge and Associates, a marketing, consulting and research firm, did a similar study in 1993. Ethridge drew comparisons of some of those numbers to examine whether Downtown employees feel better or worse about their work environment. Overall, he said, Downtown workers feel better about safety and the direction Downtown is moving. Parking and the perceived lack of shopping opportunities are downsides to working Downtown. In conducting the research, the Ethridge report revealed Downtown employees are most often are married, female, between 35 and 54 years old and college educated with a household income of at least $40,000. In comparing the 1993 figures, employees with household incomes of $80,000 or more have increased from 4 percent to 13 percent, the number of employees with some graduate work increased from 10 percent to 22 percent, and the number of employees in professional/technical occupations increased from 16 percent to 34 percent, while the percentage of clerical employees fell from 35 to 26 percent. An overwhelming number of employees, 97 percent, feel safe during the workday. The figures dropped as the night went on, Ethridge said. The report will be included as part of the strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Downtown business. The plan is currently under consideration by the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission.

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