PO Council to Consider a Raise for the Mayor

Dec. 2: Here’s the link the the story. One commenter on the story suggested a performance-based audit with measurable goals. Gil Michael, a PO resident and member of the city’s planning commission, suggested the same, praising the mayor and saying he deserves full-time compensation, but adding, there should be “a clearly measurable list of performance standards.” The mayor has expressed a willingness to have results of his administration scrutinized. He is confident that pending annexations will bring in more than enough sales tax revenue to justify (and cover) the expenditure on a sustainable basis. He said, “I come from the private sector where I’m used to having to produce. I’m not afraid to go out and put myself on the line for this.”

Tonight, I’ll be covering a public hearing on the City of Port Orchard’s draft 2009 budget, which includes a proposal to raise the mayor’s salary.

The item on the city’s supplemental budget, if approved, would raise Mayor Lary Coppola’s annual salary from $19,738 per year, which funds a part-time position, to more $60,000, for a full-time position.
The increase, however, would be approved for only the first six months of 2009. The council would revisit the issue and could extend the new pay scale for the remainder of the year contingent on the availability of revenue from pending annexations.

Coppola said the increase would be justified, because he spends 50 to 60 hours per week in his duties as mayor, including representing the city on a number of boards.

Councilman John Clauson, chairman of the finance committee, said he supports the proposed raise.
“I think it’s very fair,” Clauson said prior to the meeting. “The committee was very sympathetic to the amount of hours he puts in.”

Clauson noted, however, that Coppola ran for the position knowing it was funded part-time.

Former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel said, like Coppola, she spent 50 to 60 hours a week working on behalf of the city.

“If you really want to make sure the city’s where it’s supposed to be, that the amount of time it takes,” she said.

Abel said she didn’t consider asking for a raise, figuring the city needed to increase its staffing first. She said Coppola’s proposal is a “reasonable request,” but she would like to see such a decision taken out of the budget process and made part of a “big picture” discussion of the city’s growth.

Check back here later tonight for a link to the story. And let me know what you think about the proposal.

25 thoughts on “PO Council to Consider a Raise for the Mayor

  1. “annual salary from $19,738 per year, which funds a part-time position, to more $60,000, for a full-time position.”

    Of course, the mayor would ask for the increase. I think he should get even more. $100,000 to reflect all the new revenue he has gotten for PO….all his time writing letters to mudsling other mayor’s and towns…he deserves compensation.

    The taxpayers probably pay more annually for the dog parks than the $60,000 the mayor wants.
    If they add another $40,000, it should make him worth more than his area three public dog playgrounds.

    Funny thing, the mayor didn’t know his pay rate when he ran for the office.
    Maybe his publication is suffering since he spends so much time on mayor duties and he needs to supplement its income.

    How does he keep his business going if he spends so many hours on the mayor job?
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Sharon,

    I’d strongly recommend that you divorce yourself from the personalities and address the underlying issue: Should Port Orchard have a full-time Mayor?

    I’d argue the CEO of a major corporation within the county ($25 million in annual revenue) should be a full-time position. The major downside of a part-time position is that the city functions with de-facto leaders such as the City Clerk, Public Works Director, Development Director, etc., as heads of the city. We don’t elect staff members. We elect mayors and council members.

  3. On the one hand, there’s a position requiring a significant portion of time, despite the part time status, low pay, and obligations to private sector enterprises which can be compromised by the elected position. On the other, there is data regarding the population and salary of other mayoral positions in America where there are many more people than Port Orchard to serve, but less or comparable pay.

    San Jose, CA – $115k (940k pop)
    Tacoma, WA – $70k (196k pop)
    Modesto, CA – $43,200 (209k pop.)
    Ft. Lauderdale – $38,500 (183k pop)
    Fort Worth – $29k (nearly 682k pop)
    Port Orchard – $20k (7600 pop)
    El Paso – $12k (nearly 610k)
    Corpus Christi – $9k (277k pop)
    San Antonio – $3k (1.3 m pop)

    Raising the salary to $60k would put Port Orchard on par with Tacoma, for instance, which has nearly $200k people to PO’s 7600. And what about places like San Antonio, El Paso, or Ft. Lauderdale? Does Port Orchard compete with them and warrant a salary increase beyond its levels?

    Interesting dilemma. I do know Lary works hard for the city.

  4. “I’d strongly recommend that you divorce yourself from the personalities…”
    What, exactly, do you mean?

    ‘Personalities’ has nothing to do with the notion that PO should triple the pay of a mayor in office for about one year.
    What has he done in all the hours he claims to have worked for the city?
    I’ve known people paid by the hour to work many hours, yet accomplish far less than a person working fewer hours.
    What has your mayor done that makes his time worth so much more?
    Your mayor could and I hope does, great things for a super little town.
    But. He knew the pay going into the job yet wants more money from good people suddenly unemployed through no fault of their own. These people are struggling to feed their families and many are forced to use the food banks.
    I call it greed and poor timing.
    Sharon O’Hara

  5. The mayor did know the salary going in. He wrote that he did “due diligence” in his list of talking points about why he deserves this salary increase. He also continues, like Sharon writes, to attack the performance of the former mayor, Kim Abel, every chance he gets. Yet, she also served on several boards, including the Boys & Club, and worked those same 50-60 hours.

    It was interesting to see so many developer and big business friends there last night speaking on his behalf.

    I would respect him more if he would stop the blog and column attacks, as well as the verbal attacks on Kim Abel. People say that he is brilliant, creative and hard working. I believe you can say the same and more about Kim. I believe she set many of the policies and changes in place that he is being praised for.

    I am not sure you can divorce personality from this issue. Mr. Coppola rarely divorces personality in his columns.

  6. I meant to continue that first thought by saying that he knew the salary going in and that, although, he said he did “due diligence,” in assessing the time commitment, he said that he had no idea the job required such long hours. Yet, it was well known that Kim Abel worked those same hours.

  7. “I would respect him more if he would stop the blog and column attacks, as well as the verbal attacks on Kim Abe”…

    Maybe he is a guy who can’t help complaining…but I wonder who pays him to spend the time writing it all down?
    Most ‘do’ers’ do….they don’t have time to write about it…they DO IT.
    Sharon O’Hara

  8. Quite interesting to start a blog with the sole purpose of bashing an individual. One hopes the accuser will produce solid evidence, or be prepared to publicly apologise if the assertions are wrong.

    During campaigns, political candidates tend to criticise one another. Or at least, indicate how they’d do a better job than their predecessors. In any case, what Lary writes in his column is separate from his role as mayor. Or should be.

    To get back to the topic…which is a raise for the Port Orchard mayor…indeed, he and other electeds do know the salary going in. The bigger issue here is how the position should be structured going forward. I hope this conversation takes place well beyond the level of sock puppetry charges and personalities.

  9. No one has answered the question of what – exactly – the mayor has accomplished for PO to warrant such a pay raise.

  10. It’s not a blog question. It’s the sort of thing you get out of your chair and go down to city hall to learn about. I know Lary very well, but even I won’t pretend to know what he does every day, nor what he’s accomplished since being in office.

  11. Thank you, john, for the link. It led me to a post by the Mayor about the Public Facilities District and some explanation regarding the lack (absence?) of recreational opportunities for Port Orchard’s youth. November 2, comments section.

    I appreciate the Mayor’s conversation with the community, whether it’s his blog, his blog posts, or letters with the water bill. I think it shortens the learning curve. Tread lightly, my friend, it’s never good to shut down a source of information. If he’s talking, that means he’s listening, doesn’t it?

  12. We, the people, voted him into office as a part-time mayor at a specific rate of pay. He is an elected official. Any change as massive as this one, going from part-time to full-time calling for triple the pay, should also be voted on. I’m thinking this proposed change should be part of his re-election campaign. It shouldn’t be given him by City Council, but by the people.

  13. Talking doesn’t necessarily mean the person is listening, Karen.
    …some talkers seem so enthralled with self, they don’t hear another person. Your mayor may very well have the ability to talk and listen at the same time…I don’t know.
    Sharon O’Hara

  14. Well, when he responds to specific issues I can only assume he was listening.

    I’m not a resident and don’t have an opinion on the pay raise. I guess I’m objecting to the overall derisive tone about the Mayor’s attempts at communicating and disseminating information to the citizens and the public. I would think that would be part of his job description and I appreciate it. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to separate fact from fiction or decide if something is biased or self-serving.

    I hope the people who don’t like the Mayor or his message understand how important it is that he speaks.

    I certainly don’t want the people I disagree with to not have a forum to voice their opinions.

  15. The dog parks are in the PO/SK area Jamie.
    I don’t know what it costs the taxpayer to maintain them (where can a person find the information?) …but surely the mayor is worth more.
    Sharon O’Hara

  16. I hope the people who don’t like the Mayor or his message understand how important it is that he speaks.

    Indeed. One minute citizens complain about closed government, and the next, they demonise those who attempt to connect.

    How many elected leaders contact their most vocal critics and offer to meet them over coffee, tea, or lunch to openly discuss issues with people who don’t even know them…only to be refused and bashed over and again in public forums? Lary has even offered to pick up persons who weren’t as mobile or had health issues.

    Nothing wrong with criticism or challenging decisions and proposed actions, but at least make the effort to inform oneself and listen in the same manner expected of leaders. Effective communication is a two-way street.

  17. The mayor has produced nothing for this town! Absolutely nothing!

    Perhaps we’ll see the fruits of his labors in the future, but for now, all we have is more Junk Stores.

    As the mayor talks about expanding the city limits to capture Bethel, he ignores what’s going on in his own back yard.

    Take a drive through the intersection of Bay Street and Sidney, What a joke! Talk about Eyesores………..right in the middle of our downtown.

    There’s a place on the corner that is literally stacked from floor to ceiling with throwaway bikes. It’s a major safety hazard for anybody that dares to venture in.

    The mayor needs to clean up the Port Orchard Dump (aka downtown).

  18. “literally stacked from floor to ceiling with throwaway bikes. It’s a major safety hazard for anybody that dares to venture in.”
    Really? Do you want to force the property owner to sell out? To you?
    The bikes are inside the building…how is that a PO eyesore problem for the mayor?

  19. Sharon-Hope you aren’t thinking that one of the dog parks are located inside the South Kitsap Community Park as it is has been a County owned park for one and a half years now.
    PO City Council has now seen fit for the Mayor receive a temporary increase in compensation. He deserves it! Glad to see that the Council is moving in to the current century! It will benefit the city and surrounding community tremendously!

  20. How will paying the inexperienced, one year mayor of PO triple the pay equate to be of benefit to the city and surrounding community?
    Too bad the voters didn’t get the opportunity to make the decision..
    Sharon O’Hara

  21. Voters have the opportunity to address the City Council regarding decisions it contemplates. These decisions are typically accompanied by study sessions so that electeds can make the best choice given the data. Citizens who wish to legitimately micromanage City Council leadership should be equally prepared.

  22. Fred’s Olympic Bike Shop is indeed stacked floor to ceiling with bikes. They are not throw away bikes, though, he accepts old and used bikes, repairs them to a high safety standard and then has them shipped to Africa through a Bikes for Africa mission program.

    The work he does is very cool and very needed. He makes a huge difference to people with no other means of transporation. Yes, his wife and the rest of us would love to see him move the bikes out faster for many reasons. We have suggested that he train others in bike repair, thereby increasing the skills of youth and the community. He worries that doing so would compromise the quality of the repairs.

    He has expressed that he, like all business owners, needs to consider liability issues. He has to be careful that any bike that leaves his shop is in perfect condition.

    It is sad that businesses have to be so careful about the potential for being sued. For instance, I asked a couple local bed and breakfast owners if they would get involved in efforts to create “staycations,” vacations that keep local money in the local economy – where a stay at a bed and breakfast is combined with a comedy show or a elegant restaurant meal, etc.

    They responded that their insurance companies discourage those sorts of partnerships, in the event that someone tripped coming out of the comedy club or got a case of food poisoning from the local restaurant. That’s too bad, because our economy is served when we can create creative solutions.

    Your thoughts, RV.

    Mary

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