By LESLIE MORIARTY
SNOHOMISH — Sometimes crime does pay, if you’re on the good side of the law.
The Snohomish City Council has approved a $6,400 a year raise for Rob Sofie, who has been police chief for two years.
Sofie, 45, was hired at $63,600 in July 1998, coming from the Renton Police Department where he was a commander. He was hired by City Manager Bill McDonald, with the approval of the mayor and city council.
McDonald said that Sofie received a cost of living pay increase in 1999 that raised his salary to $69,500. The raise approved Tuesday will make his annual pay $75,900.
"The main reason we decided that he needed a raise was that he had people below him who were making more than he was," McDonald said. That can happen because police commanders and sergeants can make overtime pay, whereas the chief cannot.
"This city council knows that if you want to keep good people, we have to stay competitive, and we have to pay competitively," McDonald said.
Before asking the council to approve the raise, McDonald did a survey of police chief salaries on cities of similar size in the area.
He found that Monroe pays $78,000, Mill Creek pays $79,000, Marysville pays $79,000, and Arlington pays $75,000.
The police chief serves on contract, and he can be terminated by the city manager with council approval.
Sofie said he was paid $87,000 in Renton but chose to take a cut in pay to work in Snohomish County where he lives.
"It’s (the Snohomish Police Department) a great place to be a part of," he said.
The department has grown from 22 to 25 employees in the past two years. During that time, the crime rate for serious crimes has been reduced dramatically.
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