The timing of a series of pay raises for top Snohomish County staff members are being called into question. According to paperwork, 14 high ranking staff members, including the Deputy Executive and Executive Director, recently received a 10% pay raise despite uncertain financial times for the county.
The boost in compensation comes as the county faces millions of dollars in clean up and recovery costs for the Oso landslide. In addition, Moody's recently downgraded the county's credit rating from 'Aa1' to 'Aa2', citing a lack of cash reserves.
Many of the raises went into affect one week after the Oso landslide.
County leaders were also recently asked to help cut 6% from the county budget because of a 'period of uncertainty'.
"How can we tell them we are still going through difficult times when higher levels of management still receive large increases in pay," says councilman Ken Klein.
County Executive John Lovick says the 10% pay raises are cost-of-living adjustments, and are required to keep top level talent and stay competitive.
Lovick and other elected officials are not among those receiving raises. Lovick says he will decline a raise if The Snohomish County Citizens' Commission on Salaries of Elected Officials determines one is needed.
Among those receiving raises are Deputy Executive Mark Ericks who will now earn $189,412 a year. And Executive Director Gary Haakenson, whose annual compensation totals $171,853.