Here's a tough one.

If I were a City Commissioner who thought John Lawton was a real swell guy, I would have had a dilemma at his last evaluation.

See, I'd recognize that the community would probably go nuts if I voted for a raise. There's the whole Explore: The Big Sky fiasco, not to mention the golf courses. But gosh, I like the guy.


Wait a minute. He's going to "announce specific retirement plans within the next year." So, maybe instead of giving him a "raise" per se, I will just give him an extra retirement contribution for next year. That way the tax will be deferred on it, and the community won't even know we really gave him a raise.

But wait! The Great Falls Tribune will surely see through this charade and I'll be busted. I can see the headline now: City Commission, feeling heat from EBS loss, tries discreet raise.

Nah. More like "City manager won't get a raise in 2006."

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