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Ferndale Mayor proposes raises for top staff at City Hall

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

FERNDALE, Wash. — During their regular meeting Monday, November 16th, the Ferndale City Council will be asked to approve raises for non-represented (not union represented) senior staff members as recommended by Mayor Greg Hansen who says their pay is falling behind peers in other comparable municipalities.

Hansen is credited as the author of the associated staff report being provided to the councilmembers for the upcoming November 16th regular Ferndale City Council meeting.

Over the last couple of contracts, the 2019/2020 contract in particular, most non-represented staff have received only cost of living increases in their annual salaries. This has caused many of our non-represented senior staff members to fall behind their peers in compensation. To attract and retain the best and brightest to work for our City, we committed to offering competitive compensation to City employees represented by unions. I believe we should do the same for our non-represented senior staff.

It is appropriate to ask, “Is this the right time to make these kinds of salary adjustments?” This is a valid question to which I would say “Yes! This is exactly the time.” For nearly a decade, the City has operated on bare-bones staffing.

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Ferndale Mayor Greg Hansen in a staff report to City Council dated November 16, 2020

Hansen said he compiled salary data for each position from what he determined to be comparable cities, both of similar populations and revenues from across Washington and nearby cities, and compared the high and low salary averages with what the City was currently paying. He then developed the following recommended pay increases for each of the 8 non-represented staff.

PositionPeer City Low/High AverageCurrent 2020 SalaryProposed 2021 SalaryProposed 2022 Salary2021 increase2022 increase
City Administrator$130,968/
Chief of Police$115,212/
Public Works Director$106,800/
Finance Director$104,484/
Community Development Director$102,300/
Public Works Project Manager$82,824/
City Clerk /$72,708/
Human Resources Director$85,392/
Communications Officer/n/a$65,700$70,200$74,7006.4%6.0%
Recreation Director$54,396/

The responsibilities of City Clerk and Human Resources Director fall on 1 staff person, as does the responsibilities of Communications Officer and Recreation Director (indicated by coloring in the table above).

Councilmembers are also expected to begin discussions regarding increasing the compensation paid to the Mayor in the near future based on comments made during a recent Council Committee meeting.

Washington State Employment Security Department reported the 2018 median income for private sector employees at $43,952 and a September unemployment rate of 8%.

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