Letters to the Editor

Cost of having a strong mayor | Federal Way letters

“Search for city manager hinges on election” (The Mirror, Sept. 26) states that electing a strong mayor may mean “ditch the city manager,” but it can also mean the strong mayor hires a “chief administrative assistant” as has been done in the four Washington state strong mayor cities with populations within plus or minus 20,000 of Federal Way’s current 88,000 population.

The strong mayor’s chief administrative assistant can earn as much as $154,000 annually in Everett (population 102,300), $159,000 in Kent (population 86,980), $159,000 in Renton (population 76,780), and $122,000 in Bellingham (population 75,750).

Strong mayors in these cities can make up to $155,000 annually. As an example, the Renton mayor can make $130,000 and his chief administrative assistant can make as much as $159,000 for a total of $289,000 annually for the two of them, and this does not include the benefits (insurance, vacation, sick days, car allowances, etc.) that are part of the hiring packages, nor do they include the extra staff required for the strong mayor or his chief administrative assistant.

These figures are from the 2009 “WA City and County Employee Salary and Benefit Survey” compiled by the Association of WA Cities. It appears less expensive to run a city of Federal Way’s size with a council-manager system than with a strong mayor.

Margaret Nelson, Federal Way

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