Poulsbo City Council may raise members’ pay

Mayor's position also considered for paid vacation and sick leave

POULSBO — Poulsbo’s City Council members are considering a pay raise for some of the city’s most prominent officials — themselves.

Following a Jan. 7 discussion at the city’s Finance/Administration Committee, the council is considering a $200 monthly pay raise — from $500 to $700. Council members’ stipends were last raised in 2000.

The issue was slated for the council’s April 1 meeting, but the matter has been put off until later that month.

“I think it’s premature and I think we should sit on it for a while,” said Mayor Becky Erickson, noting that she would like to look as the city’s cash flow before presenting the pay raise to the council.

Each council member is paid a monthly stipend for their elected service. The new $700 monthly stipend is proposed to take effect for positions 1-4 in 2016, and for positions 5-7 in 2019.

Council positions 1-4 are represented by Kenneth Thomas, Gary Nystul, Jeff McGinty, and Connie Lord. Their terms conclude at the end of 2015, unless they win the November election for another term.

Also under consideration is a modification to the mayor’s benefits. The mayor’s position will now include a “leave bank,” meaning the mayor will be allotted time for vacation and sick leave.

“I don’t receive any pay for it,” Erickson said about sick and vacation leave. “I come and go as I please, and obviously, I spend way more than 40 hours a week at this job.”

The mayor is the chief executive officer of the city and is paid $70,313 annually. Erickson said the conversation to add the paid leave to the mayor’s position centers on making it similar to other department heads at city hall.

“This city has gotten to the size that you really need to have somebody treat this like a job,” she said. “This is a step in that direction. I frankly would love to have a vacation and sick leave policy for me, because I think this position requires some accountability. This should be what I call a ‘real job.'”Erickson said that presenting the mayor’s position as a full-time position is important.

She added, “This isn’t something people should come in to and expect to just cut ribbons. There is office work and a lot of things that need to be done.”