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Council rejects Mayor’s request for senior staff raises

Ferndale City Hall (2019). File photo - Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Last Friday, Ferndale City Council members learned that Mayor Greg Hansen was proposing pay raises for 8 top City staff. Hansen said they had only received cost-of-living increases for the past 2 years and, according to the Mayor, their pay was not keeping up with pay provided at similar positions in comparable cities.

Council entered executive session (aka behind closed doors) during its regular meeting Monday, November 16th, to discuss matters regarding employee performance about 7:45pm. Hansen estimated the session would last 20 minutes following a 5 minute break. The regular council meeting resumed at 9:01pm.

Councilmember Ryan O’Larey then moved to approve the 8 non-represented city staff contracts with the raises as recommended by the mayor and Councilmember Ramon Llanos seconded. O’Larey said he struggled with being deferential to the mayor and his abilities to make decisions that are his to make and within the current budget. The motion failed with a vote of 5 to 2 with O’Larey and Llanos in favor.

Councilmembers discussed what they would like to see in future contracts brought to them for approval. Those who spoke agreed significant pay increases should be put off until at least next year and they would likely approve cost-of-living increases for staff this year. Council also expressed concern over increasing the number of allocated sick days staff could cash out (receive cash for sick days not used).

Council asked that when the next round of contracts is presented to them at a regular council meeting an executive session be scheduled to again discuss associated performance-related issues too.

This was Llanos’ last council meeting after he announced his resignation due to moving to a residence outside the Ferndale city limits.

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