Commission gives pay raises to mayor, city council

  • May. 24, 2017 1:30 a.m.

ARLINGTON – A salary increase for the mayor and per-meeting boost in pay for City Council members will take effect June 1, based on recommendations from an independent citizens committee.

The five-member Citizens Salary Review Commission meets in odd-numbered years to review the mayor and council’s compensation related to attendance at council meetings and workshops, as well as regional meetings in their capacity as Arlington elected officials.

The mayor’s salary will increase from $1,500 to $2,250 a month. That pay rate hasn’t changed since 2000.

City Council compensation for meetings, up to four per month, will rise from $150 to $200 a month.

The commission also recommended that effective Jan. 1, 2018, the mayor will be reimbursed $125 for regional meetings and $100 for non-regional meetings, with a cap of 25 meetings monthly.

City Council expense reimbursement will stay the same, with a continued cap of 10 meetings per month. In 2019, reimbursement rates will remain the same, with an increase of up to 12 meetings per month.

In its deliberations, the committee considered the duties of the mayor and council, and received materials, including payroll and reimbursement data for elected officials over the past two years, as well as per diem meeting reimbursement submittals.

The sheer volume of meetings attended by the mayor and council left Commissioner Steve Maisch with the feeling that they are being taken advantage of for significant amount of time they give, relative to the benefits for the community for little compensation.

Examples of regional meetings include board and legislative work with the Association of Washington Cities, Puget Sound Regional Council and Economic Alliance of Snohomish County.

The City Council established the salary review commission in 2015 to set the salaries and per diem reimbursements for city elected officials.

The group focuses on setting rates and reimbursements at levels that will attract community members into the fold of public service to serve as mayor or on the council, with adequate compensation for the added time commitment.

Salary commissions are established by state law and are not subject to council approval or oversight.