Two 4-4 votes meant no changes to the mayor’s salary in 2014.
The Bremerton City Council considered two options. One, the one City Councilman Roy Runyon proposed lowering the mayor’s salary from about $124,000 annually to $115,500, was based on a series of comparisons Runyon made with five other like cities, and then by pulling the highest and lowest of those two. He came up with a range of somewhere between $100,000 and $126,000 and decided to split the difference.
A few council members didn’t like Runyon’s methodology. Leslie Daugs moved to lower the annual salary to $100,000. Eric Younger, going back to 2003 when the current method for determining the mayor’s salary was employed and accounting essentiall for inflation, proposed the salary be lowered to $107,000. Daugs agreed with that.
Runyon, Faye Flemister, Carol Arends and Greg Wheeler voted “no.” Younger, Daugs, Nick Wofford and Adam Brockus voted “yes.” Jim McDonald wasn’t there. A tie vote means the motion fails. So they went to the first motion setting the salary at $115,500.
More discussion, the council votes and the people saying “yes” and “no” change a little, but the result is the same, a 4-4 tie. Flemister, Wofford, Runyon and Wheeler vote “Yes.” Arends, Younger, Daugs and Brockus vote “No.” Wofford was the only one to vote “yes” both times. Arends, back on the dais after several weeks away, was the only one to vote “no” both times. Everyone else switched votes. So seven council members voted for some form of salary reduction, and yet the salary remains the same.
Before the final vote, though, Brockus praised the council’s thoughtfulness and took a shot at Bremerton’s neighbor across the inlet.
“We are not Port Orchard,” Brockus said. “I’m glad we are taking this in a more thoughtful manner than they did a couple of years ago.”
Before Port Orchard residents get all uppity about that comment, let’s recall that the Port Orchard City Council agreed to raise the mayor’s salary in 2008 from just under $20,000 a year to $62,150, with the caveat that they’d revisit the raise six months later and perhaps scale it back again.
Pesky thing, the law. A council can’t have a mayor’s wage reduction enforced until the next term. The city had to live with it, though from all I can tell it wasn’t that big a deal. Then again, Lary Coppola lost his re-election bid by five votes, and a lot of things can swing five votes.
The Bremerton council, in not cutting the wage, also neglected to kill off the one provision every council member seems to agree on, though my perception may be faulty. That provision is the mayor’s cost-of-living allowance. That’s what took the salary from about $83,000 in 2003 to $124,000 this year. No word Wednesday whether the whole question will be revisited.