Seattle, Washington

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Seattle is the largest city in Washington. It is the county seat of King County. In 2010, its population was 608,660.[1]

Elected officials

See also: Washington public pensions

Mayor

Seattle's mayor is Mike McGinn.[2] McGinn won election in 2009 with 50.88% of the vote.[3] According to a poll released on May 7, 2012 by KING5/SurveyUSA, McGinn holds an approval rate of 32% and a disapproval rate of 49%.[4]

Initiatives and positions

  • Neighborhood plan
    • McGinn campaigned to allow commercial development in family neighborhoods, but the plan met strong opposition from the general public and was rejected by a City Council committee.[5]
  • Controversy over spokesman salary
    • McGinn was criticized after his new spokesperson was hired for $120,000 a year, or $21,00 more than the previous spokesperson, while asking for city departments to cut 3% of their budgets.[6]
  • Electrical rate increase of 31% over 6 years
    • McGinn has proposed an increase of 31%, or an average of 4.7% a year, for customers of the city's power utility company. Seattle City Light customers would face a $35 annual increase for a family home, roughly $109,000 for a hotel, and $632,000 for a large customer such as a steel mill. Rates for customers have risen 18% over the previous two years.[7] The mayor contends the rate increase will improve the predictability of prices that have fluctuated in recent years. Business such Boeing and Nucor Steel along with Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce stressed the need to balance rate increases with cost controls. The proposal is awaiting approval from the City Council. [8]

City council

The Seattle City Council is made up of nine members elected to four-year terms.[9]

According to salary data from the News Tribune, there are 91 employees earning a salary listed within the department "City Council."[10] Salary information for the City Council can be found here.

2012 Seattle City Council[11]
Name Position Term Salary
Sally J. Clark (President) 9 2012-2015 $113,152
Sally Bagshaw 4 2010-2013 $117,083
Tim Burgess 7 2012-2015 $113,152
Richard Conlin 2 2010-2013 $117,083
Jean Godden 1 2012-2015 $113,152
Bruce A. Harrell 3 2012-2015 $113,152
Nick Licata 6 2010-2013 $117,083
Mike O'Brien 8 2010-2013 $117,083
Tom Rasmussen 5 2012-2015 $117,083

Employee salaries

The table below outlines the top 10 employee salaries for 2011:[12]

NAME JOB TITLE DEPARTMENT HOURLY REG PAY OVERTIME GROSS PAY
Woodbury,James P Fire Chief,Dep-91.4 Hrs Fire Department $63.77 $143,157 $91,249 $248,788
Duggins,Angelo Fire Chief,Dep-80 Hrs Fire Department $75.13 $154,947 $85,014 $242,553
Carrasco,Jorge City Light Supt City Light $107.79 $224,195 $0 $224,195
Sodeman,Earl H Fire Chief,Dep-91.4 Hrs Fire Department $65.33 $154,858 $65,882 $222,308
West,Philip W Electric Util Exec 3,Ofcr City Light $105.36 $219,157 $0 $219,157
Leiber,Philip R Electric Util Exec 3,Ofcr City Light $105.36 $219,156 $0 $219,156
Hastings,Bryan W Fire Chief,Dep-80 Hrs Fire Department $69.85 $139,235 $79,276 $218,511
Baggs,James Lawrence Electric Util Exec 3,Dir City Light $95.77 $193,072 $0 $217,428
Kern,Steven D Electric Util Exec 3,Ofcr City Light $102.97 $214,175 $0 $214,175
Sanchez,Ricardo Lnwkr City Light $40.87 $78,996 $116,338 $210,173

Salaries for Seattle employees rose by 17% during 2007-2010 according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. During that same time period, the number of employees decreased by 6.5%.[13]

Budget

2012

2012 Budget Expenditures[14]
Area Expenditures % of Total
Utilities & Transportation $2.3 billion 58%
Public Safety $534.3 million 14%
Neighborhoods & Dev. $117.2 million 3%
Health & Human Svcs $134.3 million 4%
Arts, Culture & Rec. $274.5 million 7%
Funds, Subfunds, Other $48.1 million 1%
Administration $510.9 million 13%
Total All Funds $3.9 billion 100%

2013

The city is required by law to have a balanced budget. Seattle anticipates at $42 million budget deficit for 2013, meaning the city will need to address this through cuts and/or increasing revenue.[14]

Taxes

Taxes in Seattle are handled by the Licensing & Tax Administration Division.[15] Taxes imposed by the city include: commercial parking tax, employee hours tax, gambling tax, admission tax, utility tax, and property taxes.[16]

As of July 1, 2012, Seattle has banned the use of plastic shopping bags and requires stores to charge 5 cents per paper bag.[17]

Lobbying

See also: Washington government sector lobbying

Seattle does not disclose how much it spends on lobbying on its website. According to Open Secrets, Seattle spent $20,000 with McBee Strategic Consulting in 2012.[18]

Year Amount Spent on Lobbying
2012 $20,000
2011 $80,000
2010 $110,000
2009 $190,000
2008 $200,000
2007 $140,000
2006 $220,000
2005 $262,000
2004 $106,000
2003 $128,000
2002 $85,000
2001 $50,000
2000 $73,469
1999 $78,000
1998 $19,668

Open records compliance

In 2008, a report by Washington state Auditor Brian Sonntag was critical of Seattle's government for the way it handled public records requests under the Washington Public Records Act. Sonntag said the city's compliance with requests was "inefficient" and fell short "of the legal requirements of the state's Public Records Act. In only two of 10 cases did the city meet the state's compliance standards." Each department in the city has its own rules for complying with requests, and people who submit requests are required to submit them to specific departments, since there is no central processing office.[19]

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer conducted a survey in 2007 of 270 law-enforcement agencies in the state of Washington; this survey found that the only agencies in the state that were less responsive to public records requests that the Seattle Police Department were "police agencies operated by sovereign Indian tribes not subject to the state's open records law."[19]

The Seattle City Council has an Open Government Committee. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on April 27, 2009 to implement legislation that will increase transparency. The legislation is planned to take effect by November 1, 2009.[20]

Emergency personnel

The starting salary for a Seattle fire fighter is $62,856 per year.[21]

The beginning salary for a Seattle police officer is $64,310.40 a year. The table below outlines the salary schedule for police officers.[22]

STEP HOURLY MONTHLY ANNUAL
STEP 1
(Sworn Officer) $30.80 $5,359.20 $64,310.40
STEP 2
(6 Months) $33.02 $5,745.48 $68,945.76
STEP 3
(18 Months) $34.52 $6,006.48 $72,077.76
STEP 4
(30 Months) $35.86 $6,239.64 $74,875.68
STEP 5
(42 Months) $37.64 $6,549.36 $78,592.32
STEP 6
(54 Months) $40.33 $7,017.42 $84,209.04

Benefits for Seattle Police Officers and Fire Fighters include:[23]

  • Medical & Dental Coverage
  • Life and disability Insurance
  • Retirement Program
  • Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Credit Union Membership
  • Sick Leave Accrual
  • Vacation Days/Holidays, per collective bargaining agreement provisions
  • Employee Assistance Services for Employee and Family Members
  • Tuition Reimbursement program for qualifying students and courses

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngA-
Budget
{{{1}}}
Meetings
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials
{{{1}}}
Administrative Officials
{{{1}}}
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts
{{{1}}}
Lobbying P
Partial.png
Public Records
{{{1}}}
Local Taxes
{{{1}}}

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Elected officials
    • City council members are listed with contact and term information.[11]
    • Other elected officials are listed with phone numbers and an email form.[24]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, and videos are posted.[25]
    • Agendas[26] and minutes[27] are archived.
  • Administration
    • A city staff directory is posted.[28]
  • Budget
    • Budgets are posted.[29]
    • Budgets are archived for at least three years.
  • Audits
    • Audits are posted.[30]
    • Audits are archived for at least three years.
  • Contracts
    • Bid opportunities and contracts are posted.[31]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning[32] and building permit information is posted.[33]
  • Taxes
    • Property tax levy information posted.[34]
    • Business tax rates are posted.[35]
  • Public records
    • Information on, procedures, and contacts are posted for making public records requests.[36]
  • Lobbying
    • Information on private lobbyists lobbying the city is provided.[37]

The bad

External links

References

  1. U.S. Census, "Quick Facts," accessed March 18, 2012
  2. Seattle.gov, "City Officials," accessed March 19, 2012
  3. Seattle Times, McGinn next Seattle mayor; Mallahan concedes as vote gap widens, November 9, 2009
  4. Publicola, Poll: Fewer Than One In Three Approve of McGinn, May 7, 2012
  5. King 5, Council dumps Mayor Mike McGinn's neighborhood plan, May 23, 2012
  6. Seattle Weekly, Mike McGinn Upgrades His Spokesperson for $20,000 Extra, While Budget-Wide Cuts Are Ordered Elsewhere, Apr. 21 2011
  7. Seattle Times, Mayor to propose Seattle City Light rate increase of 31% over 6 years, May 6, 2012
  8. Seattle Times, Mayor, business groups disagree on effect of higher electrical rates, May 7, 2012
  9. City Council
  10. News Tribune, City of Seattle Employee Salaries
  11. 11.0 11.1 City Council
  12. News Tribune, City of Seattle Employee Salaries
  13. Biz Journals, Seattle payroll database: What do city workers earn?, February 22, 2011
  14. 14.0 14.1 Seattle.gov, "2012 Adopted Budget: Introduction," accessed March 19, 2012
  15. Licensing & Tax Administration Division
  16. Tax Types
  17. Plastic Bag Ban and B&O Tax
  18. OpenSecrets.org, City of Seattle, WA
  19. 19.0 19.1 Seattle Times, "Guest column: Seattle falls short of state open-government standards," March 27, 2009
  20. Council approves ordinance to increase 'transparency', Ballard News-Tribune, April 27, 2009
  21. Salary and Benefits
  22. Police Salary
  23. Benefits
  24. Other Elected Officials
  25. Minutes and Agendas
  26. Agenda Archives
  27. Minutes archives
  28. Staff Directory
  29. Budget
  30. CAFRs
  31. Purchasing
  32. Land Use Planning
  33. Permits
  34. Property Taxes
  35. Taxes
  36. Public Disclosure
  37. Lobbyists