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City of Spokane, Proposition 1

This ballot measure allowing Spokane’s Salary Review Commission to set the mayor’s pay is the culmination of a heated discussion between Mayor David Condon and the Spokane City Council after the mayor’s 2015 budget proposal included a nearly $7,000 pay raise for his position.

Currently, the city charter states that the mayor must be the highest-paid employee at City Hall other than the city administrator, wording that was reaffirmed by voters in 2011. This ballot measure would again amend the city charter.

In 2014, Mayor David Condon was paid $172,000. His pay was set to increase to nearly $180,000 this year, matching that of police Chief Frank Straub, the employee with the highest base salary at City Hall in 2015. The pay increase was part of Condon’s 2015 budget proposal, which he argued was in keeping with the city charter. After public uproar and pressure from City Council members, the mayor said he wouldn’t take the raise but demanded a long-term solution, leading to this ballot measure.

The salary commission currently sets the pay of City Council members, the City Council president and municipal judges, who are all elected.

The salary commission has five positions, which must be filled by Spokane residents who are registered to vote. At least one person from each of the three council districts must be on the commission. Commission members are nominated by the mayor and appointed by the council. Their terms last four years and are staggered so the members aren’t replaced all at one time. The positions are unpaid.

According to city law, the members must have experience in “finance, business management or personnel management” or have other experience that can help determine the pay of elected officials. No employee or official of City Hall can sit on the commission, nor can anyone in their immediate family.

Two of the positions, one representing the south part of Spokane and the other the northwest part of the city, currently are vacant.

Bob Beaumier, a former city attorney and current chairman of the state’s Citizen Committee on Pipeline Safety, is an at-large member whose term ends in 2017.

Alexander Scott, a business consultant who owns Quokka Consulting with business interests in Australia and West Africa, is also an at-large member. His term runs through 2017.

Dick Barrett, a former Republican state legislator, is on the commission representing the northeast district of Spokane. Barrett’s terms run through 2015.

Election results

122
Option Votes Pct
Yes 20,285 80.57%
No 4,893 19.43%

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