Arlington council bucks idea for panel on salaries

By Brian Kelly

Herald Writer

ARLINGTON — An idea that would seem to be a political slam dunk — creating a citizen-based committee to study salaries for all elected officials in Arlington — is meeting a dawdling but daunting defense.

City councilman Dan Anderson has been asking since January for council support in creating a committee to review salaries for Arlington’s mayor and council members. Although officials have expressed support, it’s taken more than six months for the idea to return to the council’s agenda.

Since its reappearance, however, the city council has refused to approve the committee in the form that Anderson favors. And though the proposal had its first council committee meeting Monday, one of the three council members indicated the idea may go nowhere.

"I think we’re going to have an impasse, boys and girls," councilman Oliver Smith told his fellow council members this week.

The main sticking point is how citizens will be appointed to the committee. Anderson wants a seven-member group, with two committee members appointed by the council, one by the mayor and the final four selected by a random lottery of registered Arlington voters.

Other council members, citing advice from the city attorney, believe it’s the mayor’s job to appoint citizens to the committee.

Anderson said appointing citizens who are randomly selected would keep elected officials accountable to the public. Just appointing citizens who volunteer will create the perception that the city is stacking the committee

"It’s all a charade, I feel, if we make the appointments," Anderson said.

But councilwoman Bea Randall said it would be hard to get citizens to serve on a committee if they haven’t volunteered for the work. And residents shouldn’t automatically assume that the mayor’s appointments to a salary commission would be predisposed to granting him pay raises. Mayor Bob Kraski has already tapped all the people he knows to serve on committees, she said.

"This mayor has already ran out of friends and church members who are going to do things," Randall joked.

Opinions vary, however, on the need for the salary committee.

"We’ve gotten by without a salary commission for 98 years," Smith said.

The idea isn’t dead yet. Because state law on salary commissions was recently changed, Arlington will seek information from the state Attorney General’s Office before moving forward.

Kraski said he’s open to randomly selecting some committee members, but said Anderson will continue to make political hay out of the issue.

"No matter what we do, he is going to accuse me and the rest of the council of loading this thing," Kraski said.

You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to kelly@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood man gets federal prison for selling fentanyl on dark web

In 2013, Christerfer Frick was sentenced to nine years for trafficking drugs. He began selling online upon his release in 2020.

Molbak's Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak's)
Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

A fire at a home near Alderwood Mall sent one neighbor and one firefighter to the hospital. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Officials: Residents returned to burning Lynnwood home to rescue dogs

Five people and six dogs were displaced in the Thursday afternoon house fire, according to South County Fire.

Featuring a pink blush over a yellow background, WA 64 combines qualities of Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady) for a firm, crisp, sweet and tart bite. A naming contest for the new apple runs through May 5, 2024. (Photo provided by Washington State University)
Hey Honeycrisp, this new breed of apple needs a name

Enter a naming contest for WA 64, a hybrid apple with the same baby daddy as Cosmic Crisp.

Police respond to a wrong way crash Thursday night on Highway 525 in Lynnwood after a police chase. (Photo provided by Washington State Department of Transportation)
Lynnwood woman, 83, killed in wrong-way crash following police pursuit

Deputies said they were chasing a man, 37, south on Highway 525 when he swerved into northbound lanes, killing an oncoming driver.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

People walk along the waterfront in front of South Fork Bakery at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett inks deal with longtime Bothell restaurant

The port will break ground on two new buildings this summer. Slated for completion next year, Alexa’s Cafe will open in one of them.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.