Councilmember Salaries

Increasing or Decreasing Councilmember Salaries

Salaries for members of the City Council and the Mayor are set in the Mill Creek Municipal Code in Chapters 2.08.010 and 2.08.020. 

Changing Salaries: Two Procedures
State law provides two possible procedures for altering the salaries for councilmembers serving in a non-charter, code city under the council-manager form of government. 

First, under RCW 35A.13.040, the salaries of councilmembers including the mayor is fixed under ordinance and can be revised from time to time; however, any increase or reduction in compensation shall not become effective until the expiration of the term then being served by the incumbent. Because all councilmembers do not stand for election at the same time, this can result in councilmembers serving at the same time while receiving different rates of compensation.

A second method for setting salaries is for the City to establish an independent salary commission by ordinance. The process is authorized by RCW 35.21.015. The statute provides that the Mayor would select residents of the city to serve on the commission subject to the approval of the City Council. Any changes in salary (increases or decreases) shall be filed by the commission with the city clerk and becomes effective and incorporated into the city budget without further action by the City Council. Also, any changes in the salaries of councilmembers are subject to referendum if a petition with sufficient signatures is submitted to the city clerk within 30 days after filing of the salary schedule. Thus, under this method, all councilmembers would receive the same compensation unless the commission’s schedule provided additional compensation for the councilmembers serving as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. 

Ordinance to Establish a Salary Commission
The proposed ordinance would establish a salary commission of five members. The members would be selected by the Mayor and subject to approval by the City Council. Salary commission members would serve until the salary review is complete and a salary schedule is filed with the City Clerk or until a determination is made that no salary adjustment is appropriate. 

Salary Commission Term
No member could be appointed to more than two terms, whether or not those terms are held consecutively. 

Commission Responsibilities (Proposed)
The City of Mill Creek identified 4 components to the process. (i) To study the relationship of the salaries to the duties of the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmembers and to study the costs personally incurred by councilmembers in performing their duties; ii) survey the salaries paid to councilmembers in surrounding or comparable city jurisdictions and consider other current market conditions; (iii) establishing salary by either increasing or decreasing the existing salary of each position by an affirmative vote of not less than three (3) members; (iv) establishing, reviewing, and filing a salary and compensation schedule with the City Clerk by an established date and if a new Independent Salary Commission is appointed thereafter, by the same date, in any subsequent year.

Budget Impact
Increases or decreases in the councilmember salaries may require adjustments to the established City budget for that current biennium.

Recent Meetings
In September of 2022, the Mill Creek City Council approved ordinance 2022-883, establishing a salary commission to perform a study on councilmember salaries. A salary commission was formed, and the committee held three public meetings to discuss, review and approved salary increases for the councilmembers.

On 10/10/2022, the salary commission approved an increase in councilmember monthly salaries that is effective on 1/1/2023 as follows; Mayor $1,400, Mayor Pro Tem $1,200, and Councilmembers $1,000.