Pickerington city manager Bill Vance last week received a new two-year contract with options for renewal that could keep him in the city for up to five more years.

Pickerington city manager Bill Vance last week received a new two-year contract with options for renewal that could keep him in the city for up to five more years.

Pickerington City Council on Jan. 17 unanimously approved a new contract for Vance, who has served as city manager since July 1, 2010. It was negotiated by Vance and Mayor Lee Gray, who took office at the outset of the year.

It extends Vance's employment contract with Pickerington through Dec. 31, 2013, and increases his annual salary from $105,000 to $110,000 during that term.

"I am very happy and professionally excited about Mayor Gray and council extending my contract with the city of Pickerington," Vance said. "I think all sections of this new contract are representative of an agreement made between a successful local government and a successful professional local government manager."

Under the terms of the new agreement, the mayor and council have the option of approving up to three, one-year renewals of Vance's contract. Potentially, it could keep Vance, 44, in place through Dec. 31, 2016.

"In my conversations with council, they were happy with the city manager's performance," Gray said. "My interactions have been positive and the feedback I have received from the community has been positive.

"I believe (the new contract) also sets a team atmosphere and provides stability in the administrative offices. (Vance) has been very helpful, has similar thoughts on customer service and has put together a great administrative team."

The new contract states Vance must remain in the "exclusive employment of the city of Pickerington," but he will be permitted to accept "occasional" teaching, writing, speaking or consulting opportunities "on his time off."

According to Pickerington finance director Chris Schornack, the city will provide Vance with another $52,857 in annual compensation toward employee benefits, including medical, dental, life and vision insurance, as well as deferred compensation and payments to his state public employee retirement pension.

Vance also will receive a $500-per-month vehicle allowance.

"With the work (Vance) has provided us, we had the utmost confidence in extending his contract," council President Gavin Blair said. "I think there's confidence he's doing a great job for us.

"He's a forward, progressive thinker. He's willing to think outside the box and with the changing times - with governments having to do more with less - he's demonstrated how he can keep the budget in line, keep taxes low and he understands the circumstances Pickerington faces and still is moving the city forward," Blair added.

Should Vance choose to leave Pickerington prior to the end of his contract, he must provide at least 60 days notice and he would forfeit his right to a severance package.

If he is terminated for reasons other than a felony conviction or "crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude," Vance would be eligible for a severance of six months compensation, as well as payments for unused sick leave, vacation, holidays and "other accrued or unused benefits."

Looking forward, Vance said he has many objectives, with promoting economic development and strengthening regional ties with area governments, businesses and other organizations chief among them.

"Throughout the remainder of my contract with the city of Pickerington, I plan to support Mayor Gray and city council with their goals to create more high-paying jobs locally, work with Violet Township, (Pickerington Area) Chamber of Commerce, the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association and other regional partners to enhance our regional quality of life and economy, sustain an efficient and successful municipal organization whose established priorities constantly revolve around maintaining high levels of customer service and professional accountability, and every day keeping a clean city to reward and elevate community investments," he said.