There always could be an argument made for salary increases for elected city officials, but this is the wrong time to consider them. At a recent city council meeting, it was decided to see how Washington compares in pay to other cities for those offices, with the possibilities of raises as a result.
The response we’ve heard from citizens is all negative. The raises would send the wrong message to citizens, especially those hit hard by the lingering recession.
The members of the council and mayor knew what the pay was when they ran for the offices. The city has many needs, street improvements, to name one of the most obvious ones, and the pay is not that low for their services. This council is no different than those in the past — some members deserve a pay hike and others do not because of the little they do. It’s different for the mayor. If he or she accepts full responsibility for the duties, it is nearly a full-time job. Our present mayor is not campaigning for a pay hike and she is devoting a lot of time to the position.
Pay raises for elected municipal officials cannot go into effect until they are elected or re-elected after the raises are approved. In other words, an elected officeholder can’t receive a raise while serving his or her present term.
Washington council members are paid $6,000 per year and the mayor is paid $12,000. The last time they received a pay increase was in 2005.
A compensation plan study for other city employees is justified since it has been 10 years since the last one was made. The city has gradually paid its employees better and has some excellent workers.
The city has made continued progress since the city administrator form of government was approved. It could be argued that the members of the council and mayor have less to do since the city hired a city administrator and an assistant administrator. Along with the other appointed department heads, Washington municipal government is more professional today than it ever has been.