Industry insiders: Taylour Tedder’s contract is groundbreaking

Salary, moving expenses, home loan, not being required to live in town top the list of benefits
April 23, 2024

Rehoboth Beach’s contract for incoming City Manager Taylour Tedder hasn’t just caught the attention of city residents and taxpayers, it’s also caught the attention of the city manager community across the country.

This is an outlier and there’s nothing else to benchmark it to, said Bradley Ford, the city manager of Waco, Texas, on the City Manager Unfiltered podcast. This will have interesting ramifications for all city managers, he said.

The city approved the hiring of Tedder during a meeting April 8. The contract, which includes an annual salary of $250,000, a moving stipend of $50,000 and a one-time house loan of $750,000, was signed April 9. The podcast on his contract was released April 16.

Joe Turner, podcast host and most recently assistant county administrator in Walton County, Fla., describes the contract as a monumental shift and that his jaw hit the floor when he saw the terms.

Ford, who also operates an online database with contract information on senior municipal officials from across the country, agreed. This is a great mix of Tedder betting on himself and the governing body saying they want to secure the position for years to come, he said.

“It’s going to be great for the community,” said Ford.

Turner said he had another interview lined up for the podcast, but put that on hold because the contract needed to be discussed. The two men spent about 50 minutes breaking down the contract.

The contract allows Tedder to live as far as 15 miles from Rehoboth. Given the house loan, Ford said it was unusual for Tedder to be allowed to live outside of city limits. Not a lot of people have that, he said.

The city has agreed to provide life insurance equal to three times the annual base salary. Ford said that would put Tedder in the top 5% across the country. The normal amount would be 1% or 2%, he said.

Turner said he had never seen a moving cost of $50,000.

Ford said he thought it would be for the move and temporary housing while Tedder looked for a home. It’s a really good benefit, he said.

Turner and Ford had small issues with the contract.

Neither liked that one of the “just cause” reasons for being fired is if Tedder violates the International City/County Management Association’s code of ethics. Ford said he didn’t like it because commissioners are giving a certain amount of power to an outside entity.

Turner said he thought it was simply boilerplate language added to the contract by the city’s recruiter. No city manager should have this in his contract, he said.

The two men also said $60 per month for use of a personal cellphone is a little light.

The home loan begins to be forgiven after four years – 15% of the loan would be forgiven after four years, another 15% after five, another 30% after six and the final 40% after seven. Turner said this could create a perverse incentive for council to fire Tedder before he gets to the final two years. The city will have financial motivation to part ways, he said.

Overall, though, Turner and Ford thought Tedder’s contact was exceptional.

“He’s the first one through the door,” said Ford.

In response to the podcast, Mayor Stan Mills said it was not the city’s intent to be groundbreaking with its city manager contract. The goal was to attain a highly qualified candidate and to incentivize that candidate to develop a long-term professional relationship with Rehoboth Beach, he said.

“After having searched for more than twelve months total for a new city manager over the course of two years and losing many strong candidates who withdrew, citing salary and housing costs, the commissioners decided collectively to do what was necessary to make the city manager job in Rehoboth Beach attractive to Mr. Tedder,” said Mills, in an email April 22.

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