Federal Way's elected mayor to earn $9,400/month
By JACINDA HOWARD
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
January 26, 2010 · Updated 10:42 AM
Federal Way's first elected mayor will earn less than mayors in some nearby cities, but his or her salary certainly won't be small change.
On Jan. 22, the Independent Salary Commission established the salary and benefits package for the city's newly-created elected mayor position. Come November, whoever is elected to the spot will receive $112,800 per year and be privy to a benefits package similar to that provided to the city's non-represented employees.
Guiding the salary commission's decisions were comparisons to other Washington cities, mathematic formulas and the desire to be fair and comparable to the future mayor and taxpayers. The commission looked at the salaries of mayors in 14 Washington cities with populations at or above 30,000. The salaries range from $6,236 per month in Wenatchee to $13,885 per month in Seattle. The average (or mean) mayoral salary was $9,566 per month ($114,792 annually). The median salary was $9,134 monthly ($109,608 annually).
The commission plotted all the salaries on a linear regression graph, which took into account the populations of the 14 cities with elected mayors and Federal Way. The city's population of 88,580 landed on the graphed line at a point corresponding with a salary of $9,400. Relying on mathematics and facts to decide the income of the Federal Way's future mayor will make the salary easier to defend against those who disagree with the number, commission chairwoman Gloria Elliott said.
"We need to have a defensible position that is based on facts," she said.
The salary was set after much discussion and some debate. Commissioner Ronald Secreto initially wished to see the figure a bit higher than what was ultimately chosen. Commissioner Donald Dennis also wished to set a salary on the higher end of the spectrum, so as to attract qualified candidates willing to leave their current jobs to serve as the city's mayor.
"They've got to have some sort of background and you don't get that without a decent salary," Dennis said.
Commissioner Adebola Adekoya wished to set a lower salary.
"He must have a commitment to serve, not a commitment to take," Adekoya said.
The commission also established a benefits package for the mayoral role. The city's elected mayor will get the same perks as Federal Way's regular full-time non-represented employees, such as planning, finance, law and IT staff, said human resources director Mary McDougal.
The benefits include a membership to the Federal Way retirement system, medical coverage, dental and vision insurance eligibility, accruing sick and vacation leave, paid holidays and jury duty leave, and discounts on a pass to the Federal Way Community Center, among other things, McDougal said. The mayor will not be provided a transportation allowance, but will be able to expense items such as gas mileage.
The mayor's package varies from that of regular full-time non-represented employees, most notably in its vacation accrual schedule. The mayor will begin accruing vacation time at the rate of 11 hours per month. New hires to five-year city employees accrue eight hours per month.
If the mayor is elected to multiple terms, he or she will then follow the schedule laid out for regular full-time non-represented employees. Staff who have worked for the city six to 10 years amass vacation at 11 hours per month. Eleven- to 15-year employees pick up 12.5 hours per month. Those working for the city more than 15 years earn 15 hours of vacation time per month and employees serving 20-plus years accrue vacation at a rate of 17 hours per month, according to the human resources department.
With the salary and benefits identified, those contemplating running for the mayor position have more to consider. Candidates will pay $1,128 in filing fees (that's 1 percent of the total monetary payment not including benefits). The filing period is June 7-11. The mayoral election is Nov. 2. If needed, a primary election will occur Aug. 17.
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The city's elected mayor will be among the highest paid employees of Federal Way, but will be paid less than several of the city's current department heads. They earn $9,640 to $11,453 per month, according to information provided by the Independent Salary Commission and human resources department.Contact Federal Way Mirror Reporter Jacinda Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5052.