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Dec. 2, 2021

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Camas City Council to consider 4.5% pay hike for city workers

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Camas City Council members will soon consider giving a 4.5 percent cost-of-living boost to the city’s nonrepresented employees — those who are not part of a union or represented by a collective bargaining agreement.

If approved, the adjustments would increase the salaries of nonrepresented employees — including the city’s police and fire chiefs, department heads, and the soon-to-be hired city administrator — and cost the city nearly $220,000 in 2022.

Jennifer Gorsuch, the city’s administrative services director, sent a staff report regarding the proposed salary increases to city councilmembers in late October. It said Camas’ interim City Administrator Jeff Swanson and interim Mayor Ellen Burton had discussed the cost-of-living adjustment with city council members and proposed the increase to keep pace with a significant jump in the cost of living from July 2020 to July 2021.

“The change in the cost of living index … was 5.9 percent (from 2020 to 2021),” Gorsuch noted in the staff report. “It is expected that the union negotiations in 2021 will result in agreements providing for a 4.5 percent wage adjustment based on the same (index).”

The council also will consider salary increases for the city’s seasonal employees to meet the 2022 Washington state minimum wage rules, Gorsuch added.

If approved, the salary bump would be the biggest since Camas City Council members OK’d a new set of salary scales for the non-represented employees in 2017, following months of back-and-forth discussions about an independent review of city employee salaries conducted by the consulting group HR Answers Inc., which used private-industry data and a wide geographical scope to come up with new salary recommendations for nearly 70 city staff positions.

In the end, the 2017 salary increases approved by the council took the independent report as well as city staff data, which came up with a set of salary numbers more closely aligned with public employees in regional cities that more closely matched Camas’ demographics and population, into account.

The city’s seasonal employees also would see a salary increase under the new proposal, to help keep pace with the state’s $14.49 minimum wage in 2022.

To learn more about the proposed salary increases, visit bit.ly/3wpzwwG.

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