Deadline looms for board that sets salaries for Whatcom County’s elected officials

The group that must decide whether Whatcom County’s elected officials deserve a raise will hold a public meeting on Thursday, March 19.

The 10-member Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials, which started meeting in January, is collecting and reviewing salary data from other counties and for similar jobs within Whatcom County. By May 1, the commission must set the 2016 and 2017 salaries for the seven County Council members, the county executive, the prosecuting attorney, the assessor, the auditor, the sheriff and the treasurer.

Thursday’s meeting starts at 4 p.m. in the Whatcom Transportation Authority board room, 4111 Bakerview Spur.

This is the second go-around for the Salary Commission, which meets every two years. The first Salary Commission gave elected officials 2.3 percent cost-of-living raises for 2014 and 2015, plus a little more in some cases.

The commission decided the sheriff and the part-time council were not being paid enough, given their workloads. The sheriff’s pay was increased 5.7 percent in 2014, and the council got a 15 percent pay raise that year. Council members went from making $21,000 in 2013 to $24,705 this year.

County voters created the commission in the 2011 elections to take over the duty of assigning salaries from the County Council. Four people are appointed by the executive and six drawn by lot from the voter rolls.

Time is set aside at Salary Commission meetings for audience members to provide input.

For more information, go to whatcomcounty.us/576/Salary-Commission.