Rehoboth loans new city manager $750,000 to facilitate move

Mayor Mills says $250,000 annual salary, additional benefits necessary in competitive market
April 12, 2024

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach City Hall
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Rehoboth Beach commissioners announced the hiring of Taylour Tedder as city manager following a favorable vote on his contract during a special meeting April 8.

Now, those officials are answering questions related to Tedder’s contract. Per the agreement, Tedder will receive an annual salary of $250,000, plus a benefits package comprising a loan worth $750,000 to facilitate the process of buying a home locally, $50,000 to put toward moving expenses and the ability to continue working as an adjunct professor at Wichita State University. The loan will be forgiven if Tedder remains with the city for seven years. 

“Hiring Taylour Tedder is, we believe, a wise investment in the city’s future,” said Mayor Stan Mills. “In this challenging market, attracting a high-caliber city manager requires a competitive salary.”

Tedder, currently the city manager for Boulder City, Nev., will replace former City Manager Laurence Christian, who left the city in November after roughly 10 months on the job. Christian replaced former City Manager Sharon Lynn, who stepped down in May 2022 after nearly a decade on the job.

Christian was hired at a starting salary of $160,000, but received a prorated amount for his 10 months and was then hired on as a consultant at $120 an hour until a new city manager could be found. Lynn’s beginning salary was $120,000, but had risen to $141,250 by the time she left. According to the Boulder City Review, Tedder’s salary was $145,000 when he began with the city in August 2021 and was bumped to $187,000 in April 2023.

It appears Tedder will be getting paid significantly more than his counterparts in surrounding communities – Dewey Beach increased its town manager’s salary to $125,000 late last year; Henlopen Acres increased its town manager’s salary to $110,000 last summer; the Ocean City manager’s salary is $180,000, according to a March 2022 story in the OC Today-Dispatch; and according to a Daily State News story from February 2022, Dover’s city manager salary was $150,000.

The current market for qualified city managers is extremely competitive, said Mills. There are many openings and a small pool of highly qualified candidates across the country for these challenging leadership positions, he said.

The city has a budget of $38 million, which includes 114 permanent full- and part-time staff members, and budgets for another 125 seasonal employees, said Mills.

“Being the chief operating officer of such a complex organization is no easy task,” said Mills in an email April 11. “We believe that Taylour is well suited to help lead the city through the opportunities and challenges that we face in Rehoboth Beach.”

Regarding the $750,000 loan, it will be forgiven in full if he sticks around for seven years. There are steps along the way – 15% of the loan would be forgiven after four years, another 15% after five, another 30% after six and the final 40% after seven.

Mills said the city has been through two extended national searches for city manager in as many years. The city is ready to make a long-term commitment, and Tedder has indicated that he is looking for a forever home.

“It’s no secret that housing in Rehoboth Beach is expensive,” said Mills. “The conditional loan provided to Taylour as part of his employment agreement made the city’s offer competitive and promotes longevity. Of course, none of us can know what the future will bring, but we feel that our city manager compensation package is a wise investment in the future of our community.”

As for Tedder’s part-time employment with Wichita State University, Mills said he will be permitted to continue sharing his economic development expertise and insight as an adjunct professor so long as the course remains online and his educational duties don’t interfere with his city manager duties.

The vote on the contract came after commissioners continued their ongoing discussion about awarding funds to four of the city’s nonprofits during a workshop held a few hours before.

As part of this year’s budget process, the city instituted an application for the first time. In the eyes of some commissioners, only one of the four applicants – Rehoboth Beach Main Street – filled out the application correctly. Ultimately, all four applicants, which also included the volunteer fire department, library and museum, were awarded grants for a total of $365,000. The museum received half of its requested amount.

During the workshop, in the name of fiscal responsibility, Commissioners Patrick Gossett, Toni Sharp and Tim Bennett were in favor of adding conditions related to meeting benchmarks for the already-awarded grants.

Gossett defended his continued scrutiny of the nonprofits during one meeting and then voting in favor of Tedder’s contract the next, saying the two actions are unrelated.

Hiring a city manager is one of the most important decisions commissioners make, Gossett said, adding that the city manager serves as the chief executive officer of a complex, $38 million enterprise.

“That is no small job,” said Gossett in an email April 11. “It is essential to the operation of the city. We believe that we are making a sound investment into the community’s future. I’ve had the honor of serving as a Rehoboth Beach commissioner for 14 years, and I take my fiduciary responsibilities and duties very seriously.”

Tedder's first day on the job will be Wednesday, May 15, which is also the day the city’s summer parking rules go into effect.

Tedder coming on board as the season gets underway will provide a wonderful opportunity for him to roll up his sleeves, meet lots of people and practice his multitasking, said Mills. In addition, he said, an extremely experienced, well-trained staff will support the onboarding process.

Tedder’s hiring came weeks after city commissioners passed a $38.7 million budget for the fiscal year that began April 1. To close a deficit in excess of $4 million, the budget included an increase in property taxes, parking rates, rental taxes, wastewater meter fees, and a future increase to mercantile license fees. Commissioners also adjusted the projected revenue from Dewey Beach’s wastewater fees by $300,000 and decreased the administration contingency fund by $100,000.

Rehoboth’s search for a city manager was happening simultaneously with searches in Lewes and Henlopen Acres, which are currently operating without city managers. 


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