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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Verner pay request denied

City says it lacks right to award forgone salary

Staff Report

Former Mayor Mary Verner says she will not receive the $140,000 in back pay she requested in her final days in office.

Verner told KHQ-TV that she received a “determination letter” from the city stating it had ruled against her request.

“I have received no additional money from the city, and I will not,” Verner told the news station, which posted the interview to its website late Friday evening. Attempts to reach Verner after the interview was posted were unsuccessful.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist confimed that the request had been denied.

“We had, from an administration standpoint, no authority to pay that request,” Feist said. “We also … believe it’s likely a prohibited gift of public funds because of the retroactive nature of the request.”

Verner voluntarily capped her annual pay at about $100,000 during her four years in office, well below the full mayoral salary of $170,000. However, documents show that Verner made a formal request on Dec. 29 for about $140,000 in uncollected back pay from the final two years of her term. If that wasn’t possible, Verner requested that her retirement benefits be calculated as if she had earned the full salary.

Verner told The Spokesman-Review, which first reported on the request Thursday, that she did so because she “faced the prospect of being unable to support my family and provide medical insurance after having given up almost $300,000 over the last four years.” In the interview posted Friday, Verner said the information about the request was “leaked” and suggested that it was politically motivated. Verner has been mentioned as a possible Democratic opponent of Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

“I do think it’s maybe politically motivated that my name is besmirched,” she said. “My reputation has been put into question because of this request I submitted.”