SNOHOMISH — The Snohomish City Council plans to resume its discussion about potential salaries for a new strong mayor Tuesday.
In December, the city of Snohomish voted to change its form of government. A strong mayor is expected to be elected in November. In anticipation, the council must decide how much the position will pay.
The current mayor earns $725 per month. City manager Larry Bauman presented in January a list of mayoral salaries from comparable cities around Washington. A mayor in Sumner is paid $1,800 each month. Gig Harbor’s mayor earns $1,500.
Council members have struggled to come to a conclusion, as they’re uncertain what the strong mayor position will look like.
This is unfamiliar ground. The city of Snohomish has operated with a council-manager form of government for the past 45 years.
A strong mayor has the option to work full or part time. The mayor also can choose to hire a city administrator, who would have similar responsibilities as the current city manager. An administrator would handle day-to-day operations, while the mayor takes on a policy-making role.
The salary for a city administrator can be well into six-figures. Bauman earns $146,067.
People have shared concerns in council meetings about paying for two executive salaries.
Councilwoman Karen Guzak said she envisions the new strong mayor earning a comparable salary to mayors in like-sized towns. She also sees a need for a city administrator who can help shoulder the workload and provide expertise.
“There’s too much financial, management and human resource experience required,” Guzak said. “The city is a $30 million endeavour. That needs someone with expertise to run it.”
A proposed salary must be submitted to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office by mid-May.
Tuesday’s council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Snohomish School District Resource Center.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins @heraldnet.com.