Town council boosts administrator's pay; workers get 1.5 percent wage hike

The Friday Harbor Town Council punctuated a busy meeting day Thursday with praise and a raise for Town Administrator Duncan Wilson.

Mayor Carrie Lacher explained that Wilson's one-year performance review and a starting salary well below the average for comparable pay in surveys by the Association of Washington Cities more than justified a five percent raise for Wilson, who currently is paid just over $112,000 per year.

"I think he's done an outstanding job," said Lacher after the meeting. "He's exceeded expectations and brought energy and enthusiasm - and more than 40 accomplishments - to Friday Harbor government."

Meanwhile, a special $50,000 summer tourism promotion program proposed by the Visitors Bureau was approved by the council, to be allocated from lodging tax money previously reserved, but unused, for capital and administrative expenses. Request for proposals for creating a Tourism Master Plan and for improvements to Sunshine Alley were also reviewed and approved.

The council also approved a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for non-union personnel to match the cost-of-living-adjustment negotiated with union members, discussed whether to promote more public art in Friday Harbor, and approved a proposal by the Seattle Yacht Club for a new clubhouse and deck uphill from the existing structure above the club's marina on Warbass Way.

Annexation of the town into Fire District #3 was discussed, continuing the process begun in 2011 when the fire district assumed fire protection duties from the town under an interlocal agreement. At that time, the town and the district agreed to explore asking the town's voters to consider annexation "within five years."

The present cost of fire protection is a little under $250,000, about half of what the town was spending previously.

The fire district, the town and the county must all take action prior to any ballot issue, according to Mayor Lacher, who said "an extensive public process will be necessary before any decisions are made." The council instructed Wilson to continue developing a proposal and details, and to return for further council discussions later in the summer.

— Steve Wehrly


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