Chapter 2.80


2.80.010    Policy and purpose.

2.80.020    Commission created.

2.80.030    Member appointments, terms and eligibility.

2.80.040    Duties, salary schedule action and filing.

2.80.050    Citizen referendum, initiative and council referral to the ballot.

2.80.060    Commission meetings, operations and expenses.

2.80.010 Policy and purpose.

It is hereby declared that it is the policy of the city of La Center to base salaries and other forms of compensation of elected city officials on realistic standards in order that the city’s elected officials may be compensated according to the duties of their offices, and so that citizens of the highest quality may be attracted to public service. It is the purpose of this chapter to effectuate this policy by creating a citizens’ commission to periodically study, establish and adjust compensation levels for elected city officials, thus removing political considerations in fixing the appropriate amount of that compensation. Notwithstanding any other provision of the La Center Municipal Code, no elected official shall receive compensation in any form or amount except as established by the citizens’ salary review commission in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and applicable law. [Ord. 2007-1 § 2, 2007.]

2.80.020 Commission created.

There is created a commission to be known as the La Center citizens’ commission on elected city official salaries (the “citizens’ salary review commission” or the “commission”). The commission shall consist of five members who shall be appointed and execute their duties in accordance with this chapter, RCW 35.21.015 and all other applicable laws. [Ord. 2007-1 § 2, 2007.]

2.80.030 Member appointments, terms and eligibility.

Commission appointments, terms of office, eligibility, removal and appointments to vacancies shall be conducted as follows:

(1) Appointments. Commission members shall be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council.

(2) Terms. The term of each commission member shall begin after they are appointed, confirmed and have taken the oath of office, administered by the city clerk. The normal term for commission members shall be four years; provided, however, that the initial term for commission positions 1, 2 and 3 shall be two years. Thereafter all regular commission terms for all positions shall be four years. No person may serve more than two consecutive terms.

(3) Eligibility. All members of the commission shall be city residents and registered voters. No city of La Center elected or appointed city official, city employee, or immediate family member of an official or employee is eligible for membership on the citizens’ salary review commission. For purposes of this chapter, “immediate family” means parents, spouse, siblings, children or dependent relative of a city official or employee, whether or not they are living in the household of an official or employee.

(4) Removal of Commission Members. Commission members may be removed by the mayor, with majority approval of the city council, only for cause of incapacity, incompetence, neglect of duty, malfeasance in office or for a disqualifying change of eligibility. The unexcused absence of any commission member from two consecutive commission meetings shall constitute relinquishment of that person’s membership on the commission. An excused absence for a meeting is determined at the meeting when the member is absent by an affirmative vote of a majority of a quorum. Such removal or relinquishment creates a vacancy in that position on the commission. A successor shall be nominated and appointed to fill the unexpired term of the position in the same manner as originally provided for that position. The mayor shall endeavor to fill vacancies within 60 days of the date a vacancy occurs. [Ord. 2007-1 § 2, 2007.]

2.80.040 Duties, salary schedule action and filing.

The commission shall have the following authority and responsibilities:

(1) Meetings, Quorum and Official Action. The commission shall hold meetings as needed, but at least once each biennium, to establish and as necessary adjust compensation for the members of the La Center city council and mayor. A quorum of the commission is required to conduct official business. A quorum of the commission shall be a majority of the currently filled commission positions. Official action of the commission shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of those commissioners present at a meeting.

(2) Duties. The citizens’ commission shall study the relationship of compensation to the duties of elected city officials and shall establish and, as necessary, change the compensation for each respective elected city position.

(3) Compensation Schedule – Action, Filing, Effective Date, Initiatives and Referendum. Any increase of compensation for elected officials approved by the commission shall be effective upon approval by the commission or as specifically decided by the commission. Any decrease in compensation shall be effective as to any incumbent elected official at the commencement of the next subsequent term of office. The commission shall file its initial schedule of compensation for all elected officials no later than two months after the five commission positions are filled and at least once every two years thereafter. Each compensation schedule shall be prepared as an ordinance in a form approved by the city attorney. The signature of the commission chair shall be affixed to each schedule submitted to the city clerk. The commission chair shall certify in writing that the schedule has been adopted in compliance with the rules and procedures, if any, of the commission; the provisions of this chapter; and other applicable laws including the State Constitution. The commission’s official action fixing the compensation, established in conformance with applicable law, shall supersede any other provisions of city ordinance or the La Center Municipal Code related to municipal budgets or the fixing of salaries without further action by the city council. The current elected official salary schedule, and any future schedules shall remain in full force and effect until amended or replaced by subsequent commission action. [Ord. 2007-1 § 2, 2007.]

2.80.050 Citizen referendum, initiative and council referral to the ballot.

The following actions may occur with regard to any compensation schedule officially adopted and presented to the city clerk for filing:

(1) Citizen Referendum. Any change of compensation schedule shall be subject to referendum petition by the citizens filed within 90 days after the filing of the compensation schedule with the city clerk. Referendum measures under this subsection shall be submitted to the citizens at the next appropriate election, and shall otherwise be subject to the applicable provisions of state law governing referendums.

(2) Citizen Initiative. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the compensation schedule for elected city officials of La Center is hereby expressly made subject to citizen initiative petitions at any time; provided, however, the State Constitution Article XXVIII, Section 1 shall apply regarding effective dates. Initiative petitions under this subsection shall be submitted to the citizens at the next appropriate election, and shall otherwise be subject to the applicable provisions of state law governing citizen initiatives.

(3) City Council Referral to Ballot. The city council may submit the proposed compensation schedule, filed pursuant to LCMC 2.80.040, to the citizens at the next appropriate election. A decision to refer a compensation schedule to an election shall require the affirmative vote of a majority plus one of the whole council.

(4) Waiver by an Individual Council Member or Mayor of Increased Salary. Any city council member or the mayor may individually file with the city clerk a waiver of all or part of the last increase in compensation, whether in base pay, per meeting pay, or both, and such waiver shall be effective for that elected position for at least 12 months from the date of filing the waiver with the city clerk and shall be irrevocable during that period, after which the compensation schedule, as adopted, shall take effect.

(5) City Council and Mayor Reimbursement of Official Expenses. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the mayor and members of the city council shall be eligible to receive reimbursement for their actual reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties of their office. Procedures for approval of reimbursement claims shall be performed by the city clerk according to procedures, if any, established by resolution or ordinance, and consistent with state law.

(6) Council Member and Mayor Waiver and Election Not to Receive Compensation. Any council member or the mayor may voluntarily waive and elect not to be paid all or any portion of the compensation set by the La Center salary commission, as outlined in the LCMC, during their term of office. Notice of waiver and election must be:

(a) In writing and delivered to the finance manager prior to the effective date of such waiver; and

(b) Signed by the council member or mayor and their spouse, if married, as required by RCW 49.48.100. Signatures(s) shall be before a notary public.

The waiver shall be effective for all compensation earned following the effective date and continue in effect until withdrawn by a writing signed by the council member or mayor and their spouse delivered to the finance manager. It shall be presumed that compensation or portions of compensation that are declined or waived pursuant to this section shall be used by the city for any general fund purpose. [Ord. 2019-10 § 1, 2019; Ord. 2007-1 § 2, 2007.]

2.80.060 Commission meetings, operations and expenses.

The commission shall conduct its meetings and official functions according to the following procedures:

(1) Meetings. All meetings, actions, hearings, and business of the citizens’ salary review commission shall comply with the Washington Open Public Meetings Act (Chapter 42.30 RCW), and all records of the commission shall be subject to the Washington Public Records Disclosure Act (Chapter 42.56 RCW). The commission shall adopt and may amend from time to time a set of procedures to govern the conduct of its meetings. The commission shall hold no fewer than two publicly noticed public hearings prior to the adoption of a new or amended compensation schedule and take public testimony on the proposal during those hearings.

(2) Operations. Except as provided hereinafter, the citizens’ commission shall be solely responsible for its own organization, operation, and action, and shall receive the fullest cooperation of all elected and appointed city officials, and employees, departments and agencies of the city of La Center. Staff support shall be provided as determined in the city budget and by the mayor. The members of the commission shall elect a chair from among their members.

(3) Reimbursement of Commission Member Expenses. Members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be eligible to receive reimbursement for mileage to and from meetings, and for other reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the performance of their duties on the commission. [Ord. 2007-1 § 2, 2007.]