SPOKANE, Wash. - The man leading the City of Spokane has no easy job. Just one day ago, Mayor David Condon described the difficulties of cutting and reorganizing 100 positions from City Hall in the face of a $10 million dollar budget gap.
But for his work, Condon is paid handsomely. This year, he'll bring home $100,000.
It turns out, that's actually about $70,000 less than what he's supposed to make. Condon's predecessor, former Mayor Mary Verner, asked for a pay cut to bring her salary down to $100,000 in a gesture of good will. When Condon was elected he followed suit, promising that he too would take the pay cut through the 2012 budget cycle.
But 2013 is a new year, a new budget, and a new salary: $169,000 for the mayor to be exact.
The city charter mandates that the mayor make as much as the highest-paid city employee. At the moment, the highest paid employee is Spokane's Fire Chief Bobby Williams who earns $169,000. That amount is more than what the city's top cop earns. Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens makes about $165,800 a year for his work as chief.
If Mayor Condon is true to his word, Spokane will have a new police chief this month who could also earn as much as $165,000 a year. Depending on where the new chief places Stephens within the department, Stephens' salary will likely go down.
City Spokesperson, Marlene Feist, said city lawyers advise all mayors that they are required to take the full salary amount. Feist also said that Mayor declined the city's retirement plan.
The following chart compares the salary for the Governor of Washington with a few public managerial positions in the state. These numbers come directly from the Governor's website.
Port of Seattle CEO: $319,300
City Manager of Tacoma: $230,000 (comparable to Spokane)**
Port of Tacoma CEO: $201,096
Mayor of Spokane: $169,000
Governor Gregoire: $166,891
Port of Vancouver CEO: $165,600
Mayor of Seattle: $160,000
Attorney General: $151,718
Port of Grays Harbor CEO: $141,408
Port of Everett CEO: $140,524
Port of Kalama CEO: $132,325
Port of Olympia CEO: $130,656
Port of Anacortes CEO: 129,272
Port of Longview CEO: $129,084
Port of Bellingham CEO: 125,000
Superintendent of Public Instruction: $121,618
Commissioner of Public Lands: $121,618
WA Secretary of State: $116,950
WA State Treasurer: $116,950
WA State Auditor: $116,950
Insurance Commissioner: $116,950
Port of Port Angeles CEO: $115,000
WA Lieutenant Governor: $93,948
Mayor of Tacoma: $88,608
HISTORY OF SPOKANE MAYOR SALARIES:
•Mayor John Powers (2001-2003): Powers took the full salary per City Charter.
•Mayor Jim West (2004 through Dec. 9, 2005): West took the full salary from Jan 2004 until Dec. 1, 2005. He signed Executive Order 2005-005 that would have reduced his annual pay by $25,000 effective December 1, 2005, and lasting for the remainder of his term. Ultimately, his term ended just a few days after this executive order took effect so he didn't give up much money.
•Mayor Dennis Hession (Dec 2005 – late November 2006): Dennis Hession took the full salary in his first year but declined a relatively small increase in his second year that would have resulted because the highest paid City employee was getting a higher amount.
•Mayor Mary Verner (late November 2006 through 2011): Mary Verner determined she would be paid $100,000 a year and waived receipt of the salary amount mandated by the City Charter.