City of Washington

A study to update Washington’s employee pay plan does not include possible raises for the mayor and city council members.

City council members said at Monday’s meeting that there is a misunderstanding that possibly increasing council salaries would be part of that employee pay study.

Councilman Mark Hidritch said he has gotten calls from people wondering why council members need a study to raise their own salaries.

Councilman Greg Skornia said he’s also been asked about that.

The council approved an ordinance Monday night authorizing a contract with Public Sector Personnel Consultants to prepare the pay plan study. Cost of the work is $11,500.

Officials said city workers have already written job descriptions of their positions in prepartion for the study.

It has been more than 10 years since the city last updated the employee pay plan.

Council members stressed Monday night that the employee pay plan update and the discussion on council salaries are not connected.

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City Administrator Jim Briggs told the council Monday night that he had obtained salary information for other cities through the Missouri Municipal League and that he would present his findings in a report at next Monday’s operations committee meeting.

“It appears we are pretty competitive,” Briggs told the council.

Councilman Steve Sullentrup asked why Washington should base elected officials’ salaries on what other cities pay?

Briggs said council members have the authority to set their pay at whatever level they choose, but in the past they have been given information on what other communities pay.

Connie Groff, council member, said she likely would vote against a pay raise for the council.

Last month, Briggs recommended that if the council members want to raise their salaries they should do it before the April 2 election.

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.

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 Groff.

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