Tie goes to the status quo in Bremerton

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.

2 thoughts on “Tie goes to the status quo in Bremerton

  1. If Jim McDonald thinks that by being absent and not going on record for these types of hard issue votes, he is avoiding the consequences of his actions that have resulted in such a cluster of an outcome, he is very much mistaken.

    At one point because Councilperson Daugs and Councilperson Younger decided to take their issue with the rather extensive methodology put before them for review by Mr. Runyon (review, questions and corrections that could have professionally occurred long before this meeting) and call it suddenly into question by pulling something with zero to minimal methodology out of their backsides was disappointing and disturbing at best. Add to that the clerk having to at multiple times control comments from the council with points of order on all the various ill thought out motions thrown on the table, I had to lean forward and ask the Mayor and the Finance Director “who’s on 1st?” This was cluster making at its finest.

    Note to council members…. Your concerns about the upcoming election of all of you in 2013 and your outlandish attempts to not look clueless to the voters is only making you look clueless to the voters.

  2. I agree with you Colleen the mayor salary topic looked, sounded and showed as a very unprofessional cluster. Councilman Runyon did a very thorough analysis which some on the council never seriously considered. After hearing the push back from some on the council without any sound reasoning for months the members were asked by Mr. Runyon to provide specifics of their opposition areas and to assist in providing a methodical alternative. No other members of council stepped up to offer any reasonable help or any better analysis.

    The council was more interested in throwing rocks and barbs at Councilman Runyon than actually approaching the mayor salary subject professionally as they stated would be done in the newspaper the last time they “kicked the can down the road”. Some of those barbs were just spiteful and pushed the truth right to the edge.

    This is one to tuck away for election time as it showed huge failures by some on council on multiple levels. I can see no clear defense for some in not professionally addressing the issue. It has been a topic of active discussion for months and there was plenty of time for each and every council member to provide alternative methods and be part of the solution.

    I am now wondering why our Council President was not available for the vote. There are rumors passing but, I think I’ll ask him face to face as this was an important vote in my opinion.

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