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County addressing salaries

3:16 pm August 31st, 2012

The Pierce County Executive and the County Council, who are undergoing a review of their own salaries, have ratified a contract with the county’s jail workers.

The agreement, approved retroactively for 2011 and 2012, was accepted by the council and signed by County Executive Pat McCarthy Aug. 6.

Members of the Pierce County Corrections Guild will receive a 2.5 percent wage adjustment effective Jan. 1, 2011. The contract also calls for the county to pay about $1,064 in monthy premiums for healthcare insurance. The employees will pay $64 or $32 a month, depending on which plan they participate in.

The guild has about 300 members. One of them, Bruce Minker, is running against McCarthy in her bid for re-election in the general election in November.

Meanwhile, the county’s Citizens Committee on Salaries for Elected Officials has begun meeting to determine whether pay raises are in order for 11 officeholders in county government.

The commission will issue salary recommendations for the seven council members, the executive, the auditor and the sheriff.

Under the county charter, council salaries are fixed at 60 percent of the executive’s salary. McCarthy is paid $179,336 a year. Council members make $107,602.

The other annual salaries are about $126,000 apiece for the assessor-treasurer, auditor and sheriff.

Salaries for the county’s judges and prosecuting attorney, who also are elected, are set by state law. The county salary commission has no input on them.

The commissin began a series of monthly meetings in July. Still to come are meetings Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 26, all at 5 p.m. in conference room D of the Hess Building at 901 Tacoma Ave. S. in Tacoma.

Six of the commission’s 10 members were selected by lot from voter registration rolls. The remaining four – representing labor, legal, business and human resources organizations – were nominated by the executive and confirmed by the council.

Last year, the council accepted McCarthy’s request to halt automatic raises of 3 percent for the executive, council members, assessor-treasurer, sheriff and auditor. She said that was the fair thing to do because of budget constrictions and labor negotiations in which employees were being asked to make concessions.

Councilwoman Joyce McDonald noted that the commission’s meetings are “open to the public,” as required by an ordinance governing the commission that calls for public input before any final recommendations.

“This is a healthy and transparent process,” McDonald said.

 

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