Washougal police contract includes no wage increases in 2011

Agreement stipulates one percent increases in 2012 and 2013

Future mayors and City Council members in Washougal can expect to earn less than the current officeholders.

The city's Salary Commission has approved a reduction in the mayor's salary from $2,000 a month to $1,800 and a decrease for council members from $500 a month to $450. The decisions were made Nov. 30.

Salary Commission Chairman Chuck Carpenter has said the commission looked at data - such as budget, assessed valuation and size of staff - from Washington cities of a similar size, in order to determine salary levels in Washougal.

The ordinance that created the commission four years ago mandates that any salary reductions become effective after the completion of city leaders' current terms of office. The Salary Commission includes Carpenter, Doug Anderson, Kevin Krecklow, Del Brown and Sarah Ruddell.

Future mayors and City Council members in Washougal can expect to earn less than the current officeholders.

The city’s Salary Commission has approved a reduction in the mayor’s salary from $2,000 a month to $1,800 and a decrease for council members from $500 a month to $450. The decisions were made Nov. 30.

Salary Commission Chairman Chuck Carpenter has said the commission looked at data – such as budget, assessed valuation and size of staff – from Washington cities of a similar size, in order to determine salary levels in Washougal.

The ordinance that created the commission four years ago mandates that any salary reductions become effective after the completion of city leaders’ current terms of office. The Salary Commission includes Carpenter, Doug Anderson, Kevin Krecklow, Del Brown and Sarah Ruddell.

A contract with the Washougal Police Officers Association that does not include a pay increase in 2011 was ratified by City Council last night.

The agreement is expected to save the city more than $32,000 next year. There are cost of living adjustments of one percent each in 2012 and 2013.

The new contract, which goes into effect in January, calls for changes in the association’s medical benefits. Next year, officers will change to a medical insurance program that saves the city $14,000 in annual premiums.

Councilman Rod Morris complimented the city staff for being “willing to bargain in good faith,” while councilman Jon Russell described it as “an early Christmas gift to the people of Washougal.”

A 2011 wage freeze has already been implemented for the city’s non-represented employees. Preliminary discussions are underway with the International Association of Firefighters Local 2444 and the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees Union Local 307-W to open their contracts early before the expiration at the end of 2011.

Final Budget is approved

The council also approved a final budget for 2011, with two amendments.

After saying he would be voting against the budget because it includes $150,000 as a one-time payment to Camas for emergency medical services, Morris was asked by Russell if he would be in favor of a budget amendment to revisit the issue during future discussions.

“We need to bring all the parties to the table,” Morris said.

That amendment was approved unanimously.

A second amendment to include $12,500 for the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society was approved 4 to 2, with Council members Michael Delavar and Dave Shoemaker voting against it and Rod Morris abstaining from voting. Morris mentioned his girlfriend works for the WCGHS.

In 2010, the no-kill shelter received $25,000 from the city. The preliminary budget for 2011 had listed $4,000 for the Humane Society.

Councilwoman Jennifer McDaniel mentioned that if she thought it would be supported by council, she would have made a motion to provide $25,000 for the shelter.

“They are worth every penny,” she said.

Shoemaker said he was not supporting the amendment for “complex reasons.”

Shoemaker said providing funding to support the humane society is “not directly related to the mission of the city.

“The police just coughed up $32,000,” he added. “I question the priorities of the council.”

Molly Coston agreed that animal services is not a core city function and as the years go by, services might have to be “whittled down.”

She said she supports the WCGHS financially and as a volunteer.

“I know our community can support the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society in their unique and wonderful mission,” Coston said. “The 2012 budget will probably have a smaller amount.”

The approval of the 2011 budget was accomplished with a 5 to 2 vote. Delavar and Shoemaker voted against it.

With the amendments, the budget totalled $31.9 million.

After the meeting, Diana Alderman – a board member and cat adoption manager of the WCGHS – said the council’s decision to provide $12,500 instead of $4,000 provides some “breathing room.”

“It gives us a chance to continue our fund raising efforts and do more outreach,” she said. “We need community support to raise funds.”

WCGHS President Kimberly Mukobi mentioned shelter staff and volunteers feed and clean dogs and provide medical care and socializations at the dog shelter.

Individuals at the shelter also provide lost and found services while scanning stray animals for microchips.

“We have a high retrieval rate, due to our efforts,” Mukobi said.

New planning commissioner is appointed

Last night, the council approved the appointment of Mike Briggs to the Planning Commission.

The vote was 6 to 1, with Shoemaker voting no.

“The interview committee is committed to an agenda advanced by the previous administration,” Shoemaker said. “I left the planning commission because of its anti-automobile focus.”

Greenlee served on the panel that interviewed Briggs and Charlie Dawson. The panel, which unanimously recommended Briggs, also included Planning Commissioner Larry White and Planning Manager Mitch Kneipp.

Russell had previously voiced his opposition to appointing Briggs.

“I was impressed with his presentation at a recent workshop and his service in the military,” he said last night.

Russell also mentioned Briggs has stated his intention to serve a full six-year term.

Briggs moved from Seattle to Washougal three years ago. He grew up in Hillsboro, Ore.

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