Council committee wants to increase elected official pay
MONROE - The city is looking into a different pay structure for council members and will be holding a public hearing about it as soon as next month.
Council members currently are paid $100 for every meeting they attend. The City Council typically has four meetings a month for a possible $400 paycheck. The city is looking into changing the pay structure to a monthly salary structure of $600 as a starting point for this discussion.
The mayor is paid $3,000 per month. The mayor’s pay is not being discussed at this time.
The City Council’s finance and human resources committee met earlier this month to discuss the idea of moving away from a pay-per-meeting structure to a monthly salary pay structure.
Committee chair and Councilman Jason Gamble said improving the compensation structure would encourage more people to run for council seats.
Councilman Tom Williams, who did most of the research on the subject, said there were a lot more people running against each other when he ran for office four years ago.
Since council members do a lot of work outside the meetings (even ones they don’t attend), the committee found it would be fair for members to be compensated for that work.
“A lot of council members, past and present have said that the ones that I don’t attend, I almost work harder than for the ones that I do,” Gamble said. “You’re not just doing the work during the meetings, there’s other work that you’re doing whether you’re at the meetings or not.”
The committee looked at other cities’ council compensation structures. Monroe decided to start with a $600 monthly salary because it was around mid-range of the cities looked at.
Williams said most of the other cities that he looked at used the salary system for their elected officials.
The last time Monroe council members received an increase or change in pay was in 1998. At that time, the pay per meeting increased from $50 to $100.
Snohomish, with a population of 9,220, pays council members $450 per month and the mayor $700 per month. Everett, with a population of 104,200, pays council members $2,247 per month and the mayor $13,249 per month.
Monroe’s population is 17,304.
At the Sept. 10 meeting, Mayor Robert Zimmerman seemed to agree with the sentiment that council members should be paid for the work they do regardless of attendance.
“I know that you all are committed and do more work than what you see here on Tuesday nights,” Zimmerman said.
The pay increase, if approved, would become effective after the November election.
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