Coming up for Edmonds City Council: Economic Development Director interviews Monday; mayor and council pay report Tuesday

Several items of interest to city government watchers this week:

The Edmonds City Council on Monday afternoon will interview finalists for the Community Services/Economic Development Director position vacated earlier this year by Stephen Clifton when he took a job with Snohomish County. The interviews will begin at 4 p.m. in the Brackett Room, 3rd floor of City Hall at 121 5th Ave. N. Also that day, the Washington State Auditor will hold an exit conference at 2:30 p.m. to share preliminary results of the City of Edmonds fiscal year 2013 audit. That meeting will be in the Fourtner Room, also on the 3rd floor of City Hall.

On Tuesday, the City Council has another communications workshop with Jim Reid of the Falconer Group, from 2-5 p.m. in the Brackett Room. Later that evening, the city council meeting agenda includes the following items of interest:

- A report from the Citizens’ Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials, which according to Edmonds City Ordinance every even year reviews the salaries and benefits of Edmonds’ elected officials — Mayor, City Council and Municipal Court Judge — and determines the compensation schedule for the following two years. For 2015 and 2016, the commission agreed to boost Mayor Dave Earling’s pay by $500 a month — from $9,623 to $10,123. City Councilmembers’ monthly compensation of $1,695 will remain the same, but each councilmember will receive $2,000 per year in professional development funds for 2015 and 2016. The Edmonds Municipal Court judge’s salary — which is reimbursed from state court improvement account funds — is set at 95 percent of the salary for a full-time district court judge. The Edmonds judge’s position is a part-time (.55 FTE) position and paid on a pro-rated basis — currently $6,294 monthly. You can see the full commission recommendation in a memo here.

- Discussion and potential action on an ordinance amending the 2014 budget, which includes unexpected expenses for IT equipment replacement (related to recent city phone and email problems).

- A request by Councilmember Lora Petso to vote a motion to amend the recently-approved Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to include only the South portion of the Sunset walkway project. Petso originally voted in favor of the TIP but indicated at the July 1 council meeting she planned to ask for a re-vote, due to her ongoing concerns about safety related to the Sunset Avenue Walkway project. There is no money currently in the city budget to build a pathway on Sunset — which has been the subject of ongoing citizen and council debate in recent months — but being included as part of the Transportation Improvement Program is a necessary step for any future work.

The council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with an executive session to discuss collective bargaining, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. It will be in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N.

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16 Comments

  1. It is hard to know for sure how many candidates are showing up to be interviewed tomorrow for the Community Services/Economic Development Director position. The agenda does not disclose such nor mention who the candidates are.

    Mayor Earling is requesting that the City Council waive the three-interview requirement by motion and interview only two candidates. This is an option under ECC 2.10.010(D).

    Is it already assumed that the Council will vote per the Mayor’s recommendation? How would such be known at this point in time? What happens if the Council decides that it does not want to waive the three-interview requirement?

    Also, it looks to me that the $500 per month Mayoral salary increase (5.2%) is only one component of the Mayor’s future pay increase. I believe the related memo indicates that the Mayor will also receive the same cost-of-living adjustment granted to the non-represented employees for 2015 and 2016.

    • I will be covering Monday’s interviews and will report on who the candidates are. It is true that the mayor will receive a cost-of-living adjustment, as explained in the memo linked to the meeting preview. I was going to go into more detail about all of that following the council meeting itself. Teresa

    • I just noted another part of last evening’s City Council meeting. An item 11A and 11B were added to the Agenda. The council later came out of the 11A Executive Session and voted to waive the three-interview requirement by motion and interview two candidates, as provided for in ECC 2.10.010(D):

      D. The mayor shall appoint, subject to council confirmation, the appointive officers. The city council shall interview the top three candidates for each position prior to the mayor’s appointment; provided, that the city council may waive the three-interview requirement by motion adopted by a majority plus one of the full council and may opt to interview as few as two candidates for any vacant appointive office.

      Were the final two candidates interviewed before the City Council voted to waive the three-interview requirement?

      How can a city the size of Edmonds not come up with three top candidates for such a critical position?

  2. I guess I’m wondering WHO picks the people on the Citizens Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials and also why the small amount of compensation to the City Council as compared to the Mayor, particularily given how many hours each Council member must work to do their job also. Also, wondering where is the list of the people on the Citizens Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials? and the reasoning of a 5.2% pay increase for ANY official at this time, while the City Of Edmonds does not have money for BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE and numerous other things to run our city. . I’m also wondering where there is a record of ALL compensation our Mayor receives from other entities he is involved with, and time frames of work for other entities. A 5.2% INCREASE is so incredible as many, many other towns across the country STILL have frozen increases until better economics for cities and towns are shown, particularily considering basic infrastructures are crumbling.

    • All the members of the commission are listed on the memo that is linked to the story.

  3. Thanks Teresa, You do a solid job informing readers of what is happening at the City. Please know that your hard work is greatly appreciated!

    I hope the City Council does not waive the three interview requirement. This is a very important position and I’d like the City Council to interview the top three candidates.

    As for the Mayor’s pay increases – I simply am curious what the 5.2% increase relates to. Have the duties of the job increased? Is any of the increase merit related? If so, I’d like to know how the Mayor’s job performance is evaluated.

    I might already know these answers had I taken the time to participate in the related public process. I should have done so.

    I also believe that City Council Members receive very little pay for the significant time it takes to do their job.

  4. The memo appears to indicate that the Citizen’s Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials (compensation commission) is comprised of only four (4) members.

    E.C.C. 10.80.030 states that the compensation commission shall consist of seven (7) members, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age, registered to vote, and maintain personal residence within the boundaries of the City of Edmonds.

    We have an item on the agenda tomorrow night based on what looks to be a four (4) member compensation commission. Was a new Ordinance passed allowing a smaller compensation commission?

    If not, how is it possible that a four (4) member compensation commission can cause compensation changes that become law? Did I miss something somewhere? Doesn’t E.C.C. 10.80.030 clearly state that the compensation commission shall consist of seven (7) members?

    I think this is an important question because changes to the compensation schedule established by the Citizen’s commission are not recommendations to be voted on by the City Council, but rather changes that shall become law upon filing with the City Clerk, without any input or action by the City Council.

  5. My concern grows – the related Power Point Presentation states:

    The Citizens Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials is composed of up to seven members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

    Where did “up to” come from?

    E.C.C. 10.80.030 states that the compensation commission shall consist of seven (7) members, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age, registered to vote, and maintain personal residence within the boundaries of the city of Edmonds.

    I do not see any mention of the concept of “up to” seven members in the E.C.C.

  6. There is NO mention of the “up to”. I think it is important that the citizens of Edmonds watch the video of tonights City Council meeting in regards to the large new compensation our Mayor is receiving and how questions are answered regarding the compensation by the compensation commission, chosen BY THE MAYOR and ONLY 4 because supposedly no one else applied, Oh yes, and one is in the hospital, supposedly but couldn’t make it and NO NAME for that person mentioned. This CANNOT become law when it is skirting and breaking the law from what I see. It calls for 7!!! members, not 4, 3, 2, etc……7!!
    And since WHEN did Edmonds BECOME a “Mayor Strong” city. THAT is what one of the compensation commission people stated. I have NOT seen it written ANYWHERE that the MAYOR rules SUPREME here…….

    THIS is a Mayor/Council city, and the City of Edmonds is LISTED as a Mayor/Council city. I urge ALL citizens to watch the exchange regarding the compensation package. I believe this is twisting and bending the law from what I could see and probably against the law as there is NOT 7!!! members……

    THIS is an INSULT to our City Council that works many, many hours (sometimes up to 40 or more a week) to be the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH of Edmonds City Government…….It doesn’t even make sense that the Mayor would receive such a HUGE new compensation and the City Council basically receive NOTHING……THIS is an INSULT to the voters/citizens of Edmonds that voted for all members to run our government.

  7. Just a clarification on the meaning of “strong mayor form of government.” This is a common term that refers to a form of government headed by the mayor, who serves as the city’s chief executive, and the city council who serve as the city’s legislative body. The City of Lynnwood also has this “strong mayor” system. This is opposed to a “weak mayor” system, refers to a city where the mayor serves as a member of the city council but does not serve as the chief executive. My understanding is that in “weak mayor” systems, there is usually a City Manager who is hired to run the city (not elected by voters). The City of Mountlake Terrace, for example, has a city manager. You can read more at this link: ballotpedia.org/Mayor-council_government. When the commission was comparing compensation of various mayors in the region, one of the elements they focused on was using cities with a “strong mayor” system.

  8. This sounds like a term someone or people have made up to TILT the actual true meaning of a Mayor/City Council government. I have not seen this term used by ANY actual government paper-work, text, etc. I have heard this term used in Edmonds many, many times by individuals, which does not mean THIS is REPRESENTATIVE of our city government or HOW our city government is supposed to operate.

    BOTH BRANCHES of our government are EQUAL, according the criteria by the government of HOW a Mayor/Council city government operates. To put our City Council UNDER

    “ballotpedia.org” is NOT an entity of our GOVERNMENT. It is PAID for by people PAYING (of course!!) money to it. THIS is NOT how our government works, The citizens of the United States do not PAY money to their government to put up web pages to explain how the government works in this way.

    I don’t care what other city uses this type of explanation, it is NOT in the government records.

    THIS is NOT a “Mayor Strong” city, it IS a Mayor/Council city with BOTH branches of our
    government EQUAL……..

  9. This is from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strong%20mayor

  10. Apologies – that link requires registration for a free trial. Here’s a free definition from dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mayor+and+council+system

  11. The citizens of Edmonds VOTED for ALL our ELECTED officials, and should expect and not even have to question whether ALL of the people we VOTED for have EQUAL REPRESENTATION. We did NOT VOTE for ONE PERSON to run EVERYTHING in the city of Edmonds and this appears to me to be how this term “Mayor Strong” has been used to tilt our government by RULE of one. It is blatantly OBVIOUS from what I see, particularily in regards to the raises and WHO gets one and any UNFAIRNESS in our government…….or even IF ANYBODY should get a RAISE at this time. The citizens of Edmonds did not just fall off of the turnip truck. The fact that a lot of citizens are afraid to question ANYTHING says something from what I see. Again, this is a country of laws that are not meant to be bent, broke or skirted.

    “common term” regarding “mayor strong” is not LAW from what I see when reading the LAW

  12. Dictionaries such a Merriam Webster that change according to SOCIAL, SOCIETAL ATTITUDES does NOT state U.S. Government Law or Regulations, Codes, etc.

    I don’t know of anyone that would go to the dictionary to look up laws, regulations, codes, etc. Really! and just because someone says it is THERE does NOT mean it is the LAW….again, REALLY?!

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