Washington City Council Chambers

A proposal to streamline salaries of some city staff was finalized Monday by the Washington City Council.

Sections of the code that required council approval for the salaries of the finance manager, city clerk and community and economic development director were repealed.

Now, the city administrator is the only position that will require salary to be approved by ordinance.

The ordinance repealing the code sections was approved 7-1. Councilman Steve Sullentrup cast the dissenting vote.

According to City Administrator Darren Lamb, the city now has a compensation plan that helps to determine salaries for the clerk, finance director and the economic development director positions.

Lamb explained the three positions report to the city administrator and performance evaluations are conducted by staff.

A similar policy was approved earlier this year that removed board approval for the city’s emergency management director when Mark Skornia was appointed to the post.

During Monday’s meeting, Lamb asked the council if they would approve the section of the code to be retroactive to Oct. 1 when the fiscal year’s budget began.

He added the salaries for the three positions already have been budgeted, but the ordinance repealing the codes was required before those positions would be paid the amount recommended in the compensation plan.

“That is what we have budgeted and we could go ahead and pay the extra on the second check in October,” said Lamb.

Councilman Jeff Mohesky suggested the city “move forward.” There was no motion to pay the salaries retroactively to Oct. 1.

“If you don’t want to do it then we don’t need a vote,” said Lamb.

Compensation Study

Salary increases citywide were addressed in September when the council approved its 2017-18 fiscal year budget.

Plans call for an overall increase of 3 percent to the total paid in salaries and wages. That boosts the amount paid to city employees, overall, to $5,867,740 from $5,691,708 paid in 2016-17. It is an increase of $176,032.

Lamb has said officials will look again at a larger compensation boost after Jan. 1, 2018, depending on health insurance costs.

The Austin Peters Group conducted a two-month-long study into the compensation of city employees.

The findings of the study indicate the city is on the 60th percentile of salaries and wages when compared to other municipalities and the local private industries. The Austin Peters Group is recommending the city push the pay ranges into the 65th percentile.

The 3 percent increase will impact about three-quarters of the city staff.

Lamb said that those 30 employees are “scattered” throughout city departments. He noted the budget includes a cost-of-living pay increase for all city staff.