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Mayor, council salaries likely to be raised

The city of Sunnyside Council Salary Commission last night approved a proposal to raise the salaries of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and City Council members.

After having studied the salaries of mayors in other cities, the commissioners decided an average of those salaries would be an acceptable move for Sunnyside.

"It's been so many years since a review of salaries," shared Commissioner Peggy Beeler.

"I found out we were behind average," she noted.

The Mayor's pay in Sunnyside has been $360 per month. The commission approved a raise to $600 per month.

The commission's study included Grandview, Mercer Island, Union Gap, Moses Lake, Centralia and 14 other cities around the state.

The city of Sunnyside's form of government and that of the other cities was also considered. The average salary for a mayor in a city with a council-manager government like Sunnyside is $652 monthly. The highest salary was for the mayor of Sea Tac at $1,200 each month. The lowest salary was for the Des Moines mayor at $350 per month. It was noted the mayor of that city attends a maximum of 36 meetings each year.

Council members in cities with a government like that of Sunnyside are paid an average monthly salary of $450. As a result of the study completed by the Sunnyside Salary Commission, City Council members' salaries were approved at $400 per month in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Deputy Mayor salary, too, was approved to be increasd. The commission approved a salary of $500 per month for that position.

The commission meets two times a year, according to Beeler.

She and the other commissioners discussed the possibility of adding a merit-based salary raise to the positions.

"I think it would give incentive," shared Jessie Hernandez, adding he would want the system to be fair.

The commissioners decided the possibility of a merit-based salary has the potential to make the city of Sunnyside more competitive.

As a result of the discussion, the commission decided to explore the issue further at its next meeting approximately six months from now.

Formal approval by the Sunnyside City Council is required before the new pay increases go into effect.

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