Lawsuit claims salary commission in Edmonds is illegal

EDMONDS — A resident has filed a lawsuit in Snohomish County Superior Court, asking a judge to stop all meetings of the city board that makes recommendations about the pay of elected officials.

The suit, filed by Finis Tupper, says the city’s salary commission is illegal because not all seven commissioners were appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, as required by law.

Members of the Citizen’s Commission on the Compensation of Elected Officials, who serve four-year terms, set the pay rates for the mayor, City Council and municipal judge. The members are volunteers who are not paid.

The suit says that two members were appointed by the City Council, one by the mayor and four by other members of the commission.

The suit asks that all meetings of the commission be stopped until all seven members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council.

Mayor Dave Earling declined comment, referring inquiries to Jeff Taraday, a city attorney.

The City Council voted last week to direct the city attorney to prepare an ordinance repealing the compensation commission.

In a memo to the mayor and council members, Taraday said that the council could disband the commission. That would mean that the council could not set the compensation for current council members. Their salary would remain the same until each term expires.

Taraday’s memo also states that the commission did not conduct all meetings earlier this year in compliance with the state Open Public Meetings Act.

Because of this, “the Commission is at a point of having to largely start its work over,” the memo says.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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