Redmond mayor disbands salary commission after proposal to give city councilmembers six-figure raise

After a proposal that would have raised Redmond’s City Councilmember salary from $19,000 to over $115,000 a year, the commission considering the plan has now been disbanded by the city’s mayor.

Redmond Mayor Angela Birney made the announcement Friday afternoon, basing her decision on “the Salary Commission members demonstrating their inability to follow the required guidelines and processes.”

Mayor Birney went on to detail a list of other issues, saying that members of the commission “have attempted to proceed via special meetings with short notice to staff and the community” without a comprehensive analysis of council salaries in comparable cities, details on the “fiscal impact” such a salary change might have on the city budget or how it might effect staff layoffs to account for the 600% increase in pay, and without giving the community enough time to submit feedback.

The commission was scheduled to vote on the potential pay increase next week. If members had approved the raise, it would have gone into effect in 30 days barring a referendum from Redmond residents.

In Redmond, state law dictates that city council jobs be part-time, “and members can devote as many or few hours as they deem appropriate,” Birney noted. A raise for each councilmember to the proposed full-time $115,294 salary would have required the city to cover over $870,000 in additional budget costs every year.

Councilmembers in similar-sized cities like Marysville and Sammamish make between $15,000 and $17,000 a year. Seattle has the highest paid city council salary in Washington at around $129,000 a year.