Mayor proposes salary reduction with hiring of new administrator

The Ocean Shores City Council will meet for the first time in nearly a month on Monday, and on the agenda is a mayoral proposal to reduce the mayor’s salary in 2020 once a city administrator is hired.

Mayor Crystal Dingler currently is paid $48,000 a year, but that salary will be effectively reduced to $12,000, or $1,000 a month under an ordinance the City Council will begin to consider on Monday at the regular meeting.

Dingler had said she would take the action as part of her proposal last year to hire a city administrator to handle many of the duties the mayor has had to assume after a previous council decision suspended funding for the administrative position. When she first was elected, Dingler was paid the lower salary, but the City Council then increased her compensation while she continued to fill so many administrative duties to cut costs.

In the official posting of the new position, it states the administrator’s salary would be $110,000-$150,000 plus benefits. The administrator will “serve at the pleasure of the mayor.”

The mayor’s salary cannot be lowered during a term of office, but it may be raised, which is how the City Council set the salary after Dingler was re-elected in 2015 and the administrative position was not budgeted.

She’s now completing the last year of her second term and said it was important to settle the salary issue before candidates file for the job later this spring when the 2020 election season begins.

“This is an election year for mayors, so we have to set the salary before May” when filing for the office begins with the Grays Harbor County Elections office. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time,” the mayor said.

If approved by the council, the new salary would begin on Jan. 1. 2020 or when the new mayor takes the oath of office.

Dingler on Monday said the city now has 9 applicants for the city administrator position, and she plans to begin looking more closely at the applications by the end of the month and hopes to have a final choice by the time the City Council goes on its annual retreat in March.

The city has about two more weeks before the application period ends, and the job has been posted online as well as advertised in area newspapers.

“If we have a good group of candidates to choose from, that’s fantastic,” Dingler said. “We really want someone who has past municipal experience. They are going to be over all our other director-level people, so they really need to know their stuff.”

At the first meeting of the year on Monday at 6 p.m., the Council also is expected to revisit a couple of ongoing issues — how to handle temporary moratorium actions preventing a so-called bikini barista business from operating downtown, and from further development near the jetty off Ocean Shores Boulevard because of coastal erosion.

Council assignments

Council members have been assigned new liaison duties for the coming year by the mayor.

• Finance Committee (budgets): Jon Martin, Eric Noble and Jeff Daniel

• Finance Committee (warrants): Susan Conniry and Steve Ensley

• Library Board: Lisa Griebel

• Radio Board: Ensley

• Fresh Waterways: Daniel

• Lodging Tax Advisory: Daniel

• Coastal Interpretive Center: Noble

Regional assignments:

• Grays Harbor Council of Governments: Noble

• Port of Grays Harbor: Conniry

• Southwest Regional Transportation Planning: Ensley

• State Legislature: Martin.

Permit totals

Ocean Shores continued to experience steady growth in the number of building permits issued, with 8 more new permits in December for single-family home construction, bringing the final total for the year to 151. There were 8 commercial construction permits issued in 2018, and 453 total permits issued for 2018, equating to $680,913 in revenue for the city and representing a value of $43,824,031 in construction valuation.