REPUBLIC, Mo. – After KOLR 10 Investigates uncovered Republic City Administrator David Cameron received several 5-figure salary raises in recent years, city council approved a more conservative pay bump during his most recent review.
Cameron’s impressive raises included an almost $60,000 raise in 2021, which pushed his salary over $262,000 last year. But now for the first time in three years, his merit raise will come in under $10,000.
Cameron’s previous combined raises more than doubled his salary between 2018 and 2023. Taxpayers we interviewed for the original story in May were mostly shocked to learn how much he’s making.
Minutes from a closed session meeting in August show Mayor Matt Russell acknowledged KOLR 10 Investigates’ reporting on Cameron’s controversial contract, but advised city council members not to let that influence how they measure his performance.
City council unanimously approved a 3% raise at that August meeting, which amounts to about $8,000. In September, the previous August meeting minutes were approved and Cameron was made aware of council’s decision. Merit raises were then finalized in October after fiscal year 2023 ended.
Republic city employees also received 5% cost-of-living raises earlier this year. Cameron’s current salary is now more than $270,000.
“I don’t have any issue with him getting a 3-5% raise,” said Curtis White, co-owner of Country Sunshine.
KOLR 10 Investigates got reaction from the local business owner in May. White was the only resident we interviewed who thought Cameron’s salary was reasonable. His stance hadn’t changed when we re-visited his shop in the fall, but he would like to see city leaders shift their economic priorities.
“I would like for him to focus more on the downtown area because it seems like everyone is focused on [Highway] 60 and just creating more fast food restaurants,” said White.
Other leadership changes are happening two doors down at Republic City Hall. Cameron’s right-hand man, Deputy Administrator Andrew Nelson left his role for a job in the private sector. Cameron was upset when he announced Nelson’s departure at the July 18th city council meeting.
“This is harder than I thought,” said Cameron. “My last announcement is a tough one because I have to announce that tonight’s Andrew Nelson’s last night with us.”
Republic Mayor Matt Russell, who came under fire for comments he made about law enforcement salaries in our original report, also announced he will not seek re-election due to family obligations.
“I’m going to finish out my term because I started something I’m going to finish it, that’s just what we do in my family, but I’m not running for re-election,” said Mayor Russell.
White would like to see more involvement from whoever takes over.
“I feel that if you’re representing the community they should be out experiencing the community and I haven’t seen that in the eight years since we took over for my wife’s parents,” said White.
And in Springfield, the pay gap for the position is narrowing following our initial report. City Manager Jason Gage also got a raise this fall.
In years past, Gage received $8,000-$10,000 annual raises. Springfield City Council unanimously approved a $21,000 raise in September. Gage now makes $267,000.
A spokesperson for the city of Springfield said Gage’s raise is not related to our reporting or other city leader salaries.
KOLR 10 Investigates reached out to Mayor Matt Russell, Administrator David Cameron, and each Republic City Council member for comment. None responded to our request