SNOHOMISH — Potential candidates for Snohomish’s new strong-mayor job now have an idea what the position pays.
The council agreed Tuesday to set the salary at $1,500 a month, or $18,000 a year. The pay rate was determined based on a list of mayoral salaries from Washington cities with similar populations as Snohomish.
The council considered three options during Tuesday’s meeting. They could have kept the current mayor’s salary of $725 a month, increased it or dropped it down to $0. The filing fee for the primary election in August is based on the mayor’s salary.
The mayor’s pay can always be increased later, Snohomish City Manager Larry Bauman said.
“That can be done this year, next year, any time,” he said.
Snohomish is operating with the manager-council form of government until a strong-mayor is elected.
It remains unclear whether the city’s elected leaders will opt to keep somebody on the payroll to oversee day-to-day operations, as Bauman has done for years.
Councilwoman Karen Guzak said it is important that candidates know how they will be compensated for their time and work. The mayor’s salary also will be taken into account as the city puts together next year’s budget in the coming months.
“I think it’s very irresponsible to not take this item into consideration,” Guzak said. “We need to fold it into the budget.”
There are still some unsolved factors.
Council members are uncertain if the new strong-mayor will work full time or part time. How much he or she will earn is an arbitrary number to come up with at this time, Councilwoman Lynn Schilaty said.
“We, as a council, believe it’s a part-time position,” she said. “We’ve heard people in elected positions saying they didn’t know it would be so hard.”
Schilaty encouraged candidates for mayor to share during their campaigns what they envision their role to be. If they would like to work full time, there can be a discussion about appropriate pay, she said.
In the meantime, Schilaty said she expects that candidates come to bi-monthly council meetings to learn about how the city government operates.
“They should be here and listening,” she said.
The council plans to approve a resolution establishing the new salary at the next meeting on May 2. The change would take effect in November once the election results are certified.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org