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
Port Orchard has been there, done that. In a recent discussion,
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
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
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
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