According to an article in the May 23 South Whidbey Record, the Langley City Council is wrestling with how much it should set as the mayor’s salary in the upcoming election.
Port Orchard has been there, done that. In a recent discussion, the city council quickly and without much controversy concluded that running the city of Port Orchard was a full-time job. The salary, as advertised in the 2011 Kitsap County candidate guidelines document, is $60,150.40 (exclusive of benefits). Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola makes $62,150 (exclusive of benefits). Coppola in 2009 convinced the council that the position was deserving of greater compensation that the roughly $20,000 it commanded when he took office in 2008.
But back to Langely. The council originally took up the issue when “controversy over vacation pay for Mayor Paul Samuelson created intense scrutiny of the size of his compensation package. Shoddy work on the ordinances that set the mayor’s salary prompted the council to rescind and rewrite the laws that gave Samuelson annual earnings that topped $53,000.”
As it turns out, they crafted an ordinance that needs some revision.
The Langley council next week will discuss “a revised ordinance that strips away a requirement that links the council’s approval of the mayor’s ‘plan of administration’ to any possible pay raise.”
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because the Port Orchard City Council had hoped to tie Coppola’s salary to annual performance reviews, which the mayor was all on board with. They later found they could raise the salary during his term of office, but the only time they could lower it was at an election.
And remember, the Port Orchard council just decided that, regardless of who gets the job, it’s a full-time position.
On Monday, the Langley council was to take a big-picture look at its mayor and his compensation. The article, which was excellent on many levels, drew on data to from Washington Association of Cities to show that Samuelson’s salary ($53,532) is among the top 25 in the state. That’s significant, considering the population of the town he governs is only 1,115 (compared for example to Port Orchard, which is about 10 times that many).
In fact, Samuelson, at 24th in the state, is ranked right behind Coppola, who is the 23rd best paid mayor in the Washington. Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, paid $65,400 (pop. 8,920) ranks 21. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, paid $117,672, (pop. 36,190) is in 6th place.
(Bainbridge Island does not have a mayor. It’s city manager is paid $94,788 in salary and benefits in 2011 to run a city that serves about 23,000 people.)
No surprise, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is the highest paid mayor in the state with $169,956.
Washington State has 281 cities and towns.
Significantly, the ranking does not correlate to population (as you can see from a quick Poulsbo-Port Orchard comparison). Certainly looking at Samuelson’s pay-to-population ratio, one would have to conclude a big-picture analysis is in order.
As the South Whidbey Record’s Brian Kelly reported, “A Record review of mayoral pay, based on the 2010 salary survey conducted by the Association of Washington Cities, shows that in the 92 cities and towns with populations between 715 and 5,000, only 17 mayors in those towns make more than $10,000. Six receive no pay at all for serving as mayor.”
“On a per-capita basis, with the cost of the mayor’s salary divided by the number of residents, Samuelson’s pay is at the very top of the 129 cities examined by the Record. …The cost of the mayor’s pay to each Langley resident is $48.01, according to an analysis conducted by the newspaper.”
“The next highest is Coupeville, with a per-capita rate of $33.73, followed by Yarrow Point, at $30.15.”
Most cities have a per capita rate of $3 to $5, the Record showed in the article, which included a list of the top 25, plus population, annual budget and number of employees. Rock on South Whidbey Record!
Ranked on a per capita, bang-for-buck basis, Kitsap’s mayors come in as follows: Bremerton $3.25 per resident to pay its mayor for a year; Port Orchard comes in at $5.69 and Poulsbo is on the high end at $7.33 per resident.
6 BREMERTON MAYOR PATTY LENT
Budget: $146 million
Mayor annual per capita cost: $3.25
23 MAYOR LARY COPPOLA
Budget: $11.9 million
Mayor annual per capita cost: $5.69
21 MAYOR BECKY ERICKSON
Budget: $14 million
Mayor annual per capita cost: $7.33
and by comparison …
24 MAYOR PAUL SAMUELSON
Budget: $4.3 million
Mayor, annual per capita cost: $48.01
22 MAYOR NANCY CONARD
Budget: $5.3 million
Mayor annual per capital cost: $33.73