City officials have been directed to research salaries that city council members and mayors are paid in cities comparable to Washington as part of a study possibly to increase compensation for elected officials here.

The city council this week approved a motion for the staff to conduct the study.

The suggestion of raising the pay of council members came up Tuesday night after members endorsed a recommendation to update the employee compensation plan.

It has been more than 10 years since the last employee pay plan study was prepared, according to a letter to the council from Assistant City Administrator Brian Boehmer.

Boehmer said the staff contacted several firms regarding the compensation study and recommends that the city hire Public Sector Personnels Consultants (PSPC).

“They are a very reputable firm with a long list of public sector clients,” Boehmer said in the letter.

The council agreed to have the staff prepare a contract with PSPC for consideration at a future meeting.

Later in Tuesday’s meeting, the suggestion was made to look at possibly raising council salaries.

“If you want to increase compensation (for council members), you should do it before the April election,” City Administrator Jim Briggs said.

That way the five persons elected to open seats would receive the higher salaries following the election.

Pay raises for elected officials, by law, cannot go into effect until officeholders are elected or re-elected.

There were no objections to the motion to do a comparison study to learn what council members are paid in other communities similar to Washington.

Currently, council members are paid $6,000 per year and the mayor’s annual salary is $12,000.

The salaries had been $3,000 for council members and $6,000 for mayor until they were increased in 2005.

In March 1996, council salaries were increased from $2,100 a year to $3,000, while the mayor’s salary increased from $2,700 to $6,000. Prior to that, salaries were last raised in 1987.

There are only two races for council seats in the April 2 municipal election. They are in Ward 1, where incumbent Walt Meyer is facing opposition from Tom Coulter, and in Ward 3 where Jeffrey A. Patke is vying for the seat held by incumbent Connie Groff.

Incumbents who have no opponents are Greg Skornia, Ward 3, who will be elected to a one-year unexpired term, Jeff Mohesky, Ward 2, and Joe Holtmeier, Ward 4.