Snohomish’s new ‘strong mayor’ will be paid $1,500 a month

SNOHOMISH — City Council members have settled on a salary for Snohomish’s new strong-mayor position.

A resolution was approved Tuesday that established the elected mayor’s pay at $1,500 a month. The change won’t take effect until Nov. 29, when the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office plans to certify the results of the general election and a new mayor is announced.

Under the current council-manager form of government, the City Council selects one of its members to serve as mayor. A city manager is paid to handle day-to-day operations. The part-time mayoral position now pays $725 a month. Mayor Tom Hamilton is expected to continue earning that amount until a strong mayor takes office.

A few people had hoped to hold off on a decision.

“What’s the rush?” said Morgan Davis, who lives outside the city. “Deciding on the salary before we know who the mayor is is putting the cart before the horse.”

Mike Whitney, of Snohomish, said that would not happen in other job application settings. He said an employer typically would not wait until after a new employee starts work to hammer out the details of compensation.

The strong-mayor’s salary can be revisited at any time, City Manager Larry Bauman said. The pay rate was determined based on a survey of mayoral salaries in comparable cities around Snohomish, Pierce and King counties.

The strong mayor will have the option of hiring a city administrator. Historically, this type of position pays an executive salary. Bauman earns $146,067.

Councilwoman Lynn Schilaty said the proposed salary was not cherry-picked, as some critics asserted. She leaned against setting a higher salary, saying it could put the council in a difficult situation later.

“I like the idea of raising it down the road if they go above and beyond,” Councilman Michael Rohrscheib said.

The resolution passed 5-2, with Hamilton and Councilman Derrick Burke voting against it.

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