After months of performing the job in the interim, Matt Morasch has been named the new public works director for Jefferson City.
In closed session Monday, the City Council approved Morasch in an 8-1 vote, with 4th Ward Councilman Carlos Graham casting the sole opposing vote. Fifth Ward Councilman Larry Henry was not present at Monday's meeting.
Interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert said Morasch will receive a 10 percent salary increase with the promotion, bringing his new salary to just more than $107,000, making him the highest paid department director at the city.
"It seemed appropriate because he supervises 120 people, deals with millions of dollars in capital improvement money, requires a professional degree and supervises people with those professional degrees as well," Hilpert said.
Morasch, who has been serving as interim public works director since April, said, "I really appreciate the opportunity and faith the council has put in me. I'll work hard to meet their expectations. I think one of the biggest challenges will be to look at how we operate transit. I know the community has expressed interest and we should look at that division and move forward in positive way. I see no big changes unless the council would give direction. We always want to improve our operations."
Graham said his opposing vote was not against moving Morasch into the director position, but was in opposition to the 10 percent salary increase. Graham said the city is facing difficult financial times and in a year when no other city employee received a raise, he wasn't able to justify such a large increase.
"I consciously could not vote for that," Graham said. "I was just shocked that I was the only one."
Graham noted that Morasch's new salary is more than the city paid its previous public works director, Roger Schwartze, who earned $99,000.
Hilpert said he will bring a proposal to the council to eliminate the engineering supervisor position, currently held by David Bange, to help cut personnel costs in the department. Bange will take Morasch's old position as city engineer, Hilpert said.