Mayor and council getting raises over next 2 years

$121,912 for Earling; councilmembers see first increase in 15 years
By Brian Soergel | Sep 14, 2017

When Jay Grant of the Edmonds Salary Commission made his presentation on 2018 and 2019 salary increases for the mayor and city councilmembers, he said there was one position he overlooked when comparing their salaries to those in other nearby cities.

“What we did not include was city managers, frankly because their salaries are consistently higher than those of elected mayors,” he said.

“Mr. Grant, you can repeat that if you’d like,” said Mayor Dave Earling, which drew a fair share of chuckles.

It’s true. City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto in Mill Creek, a city with half the population of Edmonds, makes about $170,000 a year.

But there’s good news for Earling and the seven councilmembers, who will get raises over the next two years, based on cost of living adjustments from the Seattle Area Consumer Price Index. Earling’s salary of $118,361 will increase to $121,912 in 2018, and be adjusted further for 2019 when the index is released next summer.

Grant noted the salary for Edmonds’ mayor Gary Haakenson in 2001 was $84,000, which was raised to $97,000 in 2002. So the salary for Edmonds’ mayor has increased almost 50 percent in 16 years.

For comparison, here are the 2017 salaries of mayors in three cities, all with fewer residents than Edmonds: Lynnwood, $104,767; Bremerton, $107,000; and Issaquah, $113,136;

Factors considered by the five-member panel – which also includes Ava Dubno, Don Hall, Jeff Hodson and Carl Zapora – were historical compensation data; compensation in cities of similar size; form of government; cost-of-living trends; and city populations and the number of full-time employees.

Councilmembers, who meet four times a month, will see their salaries increase by $1,500 a year on Jan. 1 and another $1,500 in 2019, taking them from the current $12,000 to $15,000, an increase of 25 percent. The council president will see an additional $200 a month in both 2018 and 2019, the same rate as now. That takes the council president’s salary to $17,400 a year in 2019.

Current annual council salaries for comparable cities are $10,800 in Lynnwood, $12,276 in Bremerton, $12,372 in Bothell, $14,049 in Puyallup and $15,000 in Issaquah.

Health benefits for Earling and the councilmembers will remain the same, and will change in the future only if the benefits package for non-represented employees changes.

The panel held several public meetings, but no members of the public spoke. There was, however, input provided through online surveys.

“Our commission worked diligently and harmoniously to reach our conclusions,” Grant said. “We are appreciative of the assistance given by Human Resources Director Mary Ann Hardie and other staff within the city who prepared various requested information.”



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