Council approves salary increases for elected officials

Donelle Pardee Whiting

On May 1, 2009, Washington’s mayor, city clerk and four aldermen will receive a raise.

City council members voted to increase the mayor’s salary from $4,000 to $10,000.

The mayor will also receive $100 for every liquor commission meeting he attends.

Mayor Gary Manier serves as the city’s liquor commissioner.

Aldermen will receive $50 per council meeting they attend, a $5 increase. In addition, aldermen will get $20 for each special meeting and committee of the whole meeting they attend.

The mayor’s salary has remained unchanged since 1980, city administrator Bob Morris said.

Morris recommended the mayor’s raise.

Because state law prohibits salary changes for elected community officials in the middle of a term, the increases must be phased in, according to the election cycle.

Manier’s four-year term ends in May 2009. He said he is planning to run for re-election.

The four-year terms of Todd Clanin, Jim Newman, Al Howerter and the seat vacated by Amanda Shipp will also end in May 2009.

The terms of Donald Brubaker, Bob Brucks, Dave Dingledine and Jim Gee expire May 2011.

Council members voted 7-0 to increase salaries for the mayor and city clerk.

“The mayor’s job is much more demanding now,” Dingledine said. “It’s really a full-time position because the mayor is on call 24-7. Frankly, I don’t think $10,000 is enough for the time and effort needed.”

Brucks said a comparison of salaries of part-time mayors could be misleading, because “those cities haven’t experienced the growth we have.”

Although Newman voted in favor of the mayoral salary increase, he expressed concern.

“Gary (Manier) does a great job, and he’s a wonderful cheerleader for the city, but will the next mayor do that?”

Council members voted 6-1 to raise the aldermen’s salaries.

Howerter was the dissenting vote.

“We’re not in this for the money, and I think we’re making enough,” he said.

Beginning May 1, 2009, the city clerk’s salary will increase from $36,590 annually to $37,870.

Beginning May 1, 2012, the city clerk’s salary will be $41,995.

City clerk Carol Moss is currently in her final year of a four-year term.

Compensation for the part-time city treasurer, to take effect May 1, 2009, was also approved.

The treasurer will continue to receive $8,000 annually, which has not changed since 1993.