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Coupeville council to hike mayor's pay

The Coupeville Town Council will decide next Tuesday whether to turn Mayor Nancy Conard’s job into a regular part-time position, complete with a big raise.

It will mean a 400 percent pay hire, plus benefits.

Under two separate proposed ordinances, Conard’s salary would be increased from $500 a month to $26,200 a year. The ordinances acknowledge that the town needs a paid lead administrator, but it leaves open the possibility of either the mayor or a new hired supervisor doing the work.

The basic issue, Conard said, is that there’s about 20 hours of administrative and supervisory work that needs to get done each week at town hall. She’s been doing it for the last six years, but without fair compensation.

The work, she says, involves supervising employees, coordinating projects, running staff meetings and other administrative duties.

Most towns and cities — like Langley and LaConner — have a hired administrator in addition to a mayor to do the day-to-day work of “a town CEO.” While Conard has taken on those administrative duties in Coupeville, she worries about what will happen if a future mayor doesn’t have the time, ability or will to do the work.

“The proposals provides money in the budget for these duties,” she said.

The first ordinance compels the mayor to create a plan of administration for the town within 90 days of taking office. Under the plan, either the mayor can do the administrative work or the town can hire a town supervisor to do the job. The ordinance says that whoever does the work needs to get paid a reasonable salary.

The second ordinance is specific to Conard. Since she plans to continue doing the town’s administrative work, the ordinance sets her salary at half of the full-time department heads’ wages. The planning director, the town marshall, the public works director and the clerk/treasurer each earn $52,400 a year, plus benefits.

Conard said she has been discussing the matter for many months with the council members and her proposed salary increase has already budgeted for this year. The council members have been very supportive of the proposals so far. They unanimously voted to put the matter on the Jan. 22 meeting agenda.

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