Chapter 2.22


2.22.010    Established.

2.22.020    Purpose.

2.22.030    Duties.

2.22.040    Membership – Term of office.

2.22.050    Meetings and operation.

2.22.070    Compensation.

2.22.080    Referendum.

2.22.010 Established.

The Whatcom County commission on salaries for elected officials is hereby established as an independent county commission. (Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).

2.22.020 Purpose.

The purpose of the commission is to fix the salaries of the county council, executive, assessor, auditor, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, and treasurer in accordance with this chapter, the county charter, and state law. The commission shall study the relationship of salaries to the duties of the elected officials and fix the salary for each position. Except as provided in this chapter, the commission shall be solely responsible for its own organization, and shall enjoy the fullest cooperation of all elected officials, departments, and agencies of the county. (Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).

2.22.030 Duties.

A. The commission shall prepare a schedule of salaries for elected officials for the succeeding two calendar years and file the schedules with the county council and county auditor no later than May 1, 2013, and no later than May 1st every two years thereafter. The chair of the commission shall sign each salary schedule filed by the commission, certifying that the schedules have been prepared and filed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, Whatcom County Charter Section 6.100, and the rules, if any, of the commission.

B. Except as provided in subsection C of this section, the salary schedules prepared and filed by the commission in accordance with this section shall become effective January 1st of the following calendar year. The salary schedules will be incorporated into the county budget without further action by the county council, county executive, or commission; provided, that salary decreases established by the commission shall become effective as to incumbent elected officials at the commencement of their next subsequent term of office. Salary increases established by the commission shall become effective for all elected officials regardless of their terms of office.

C. Salary increases and decreases shall be subject to referendum as provided in WCC 2.22.080 and Sections 5.50 and 5.60 of the Whatcom County Charter. (Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).

2.22.040 Membership – Term of office.

A. The commission shall consist of 10 members. Six members shall be selected by lot and appointed and confirmed as provided in subsection B of this section. The remaining four members shall be appointed and confirmed as provided in subsection C of this section. The members of the commission may not include any officer, official, candidate (as defined in RCW 42.17A.005(7)) for a paid elected office in any jurisdiction within the county, or employee of the county or any of his or her immediate family members. For the purposes of this section, “immediate family member” means parent, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, or dependent relative of an officer, official, or employee of the county, whether or not living in the same household.

B. Six of the 10 commission members shall be selected by lot by the county auditor from among those registered voters eligible to vote at the time persons are selected for appointment to full terms on the commission. The county auditor shall establish policies and procedures for conducting the selection by lot. The policies and procedures shall include, but not be limited to, those for notifying persons selected and for providing a new selection if a person declines appointment or if, following the person’s appointment, the person’s position on the commission becomes vacant before the end of the person’s term of office. The county auditor shall forward the names of persons selected under this subsection to the county executive who shall appoint those persons to the commission. Appointments made by the county executive shall be confirmed by the county council.

C. Four of the 10 commission members shall be selected and appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the county council. The members under this subsection shall be residents of the county and shall all have experience in personnel management. Of these four members, one member shall be selected from each of the following fields of expertise: business, professional personnel management, legal profession, and organized labor. The county council may confirm or reject appointments made under this subsection. If the council rejects an appointment, the county executive shall promptly appoint another person meeting the requirements of this subsection.

D. The members of the commission shall serve two-year terms, with his or her term ending on December 31, 2014. Thereafter, all members shall serve for two years. No person may be appointed to more than two terms. Members of the commission may be removed by the county executive, with the approval of the county council, only for cause of incapacity, incompetence, neglect of duty, malfeasance in office, or for a disqualifying change of eligibility. Upon a vacancy in any position on the commission, a successor shall be appointed and confirmed to fill the unexpired term. The appointment and confirmation shall be concluded within 30 days of the date the position becomes vacant and shall be conducted in the same manner as the original appointment. (Ord. 2017-007 Exh. A; Ord. 2016-026 Exh. A; Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).

2.22.050 Meetings and operation.

A. All business of the commission shall be subject to the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 42.30 RCW. The commission shall meet biennially as provided in Whatcom County Charter Section 6.100. However, the commission may meet as frequently as it deems necessary.

B. The members of the commission shall elect a chair from among its members.

C. The county executive shall provide clerical support for the commission from available county staff. (Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).

2.22.070 Compensation.

Members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but may receive reimbursement for mileage to and from meetings and for such other expenses directly related to their service if approved by the county executive. (Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).

2.22.080 Referendum.

A. Salary changes fixed by the commission shall be subject to referendum in the same manner as a county ordinance except as otherwise provided in RCW 36.17.024. Referendum petitions shall be prepared and processed in accordance with Whatcom County Charter Section 5.60, except that pursuant to RCW 36.17.024 referendum proposals must be filed with the county auditor within 30 days after filing of the salary schedules.

B. After the filing of a referendum petition the salary changes shall be suspended until approved by the voters as provided in Whatcom County Charter Section 5.60. If the voters fail to approve the salary changes for a two-year biennium the commission may prepare and file a schedule of salaries for the second year of the biennium no later than May 1st of the first year of the biennium, which shall be prepared and filed and take effect as provided in WCC 2.22.030. (Ord. 2012-008 Exh. A).