City council considers giving Langley mayor a raise — again

The Langley City Council will consider giving Mayor Paul Samuelson another pay raise at the council meeting tonight.

If the proposal is approved, it will mark the second time this year that Samuelson will get a pay raise. The council approved a $10,000 increase for the mayor in September, which raised Samuelson's salary to $31,000.

The proposed increase will put Samuelson's base salary at $51,513, the same level as the city's department heads.

City Councilman Robert Gilman said the proposed increase is part of a two-step process that included the earlier budget adjustment that increased the mayor's pay by $10,000.

"While it's easy to play this as 'Mayor's salary increases,' it isn't that big of change in terms of the overall budget in the mayor's office," Gilman said.

He said the city has been saving money since Langley moved away from having a part-time mayor and a full-time city administrator. Under previous Mayor Neil Colburn, the mayor was not a full-time employee and many day-to-day decisions at city hall were handled by then-City Administrator Walt Blackford.

"The thing that was really convincing to those of us on the council is seeing the ways in which having Paul having devote more time to the duties of mayor, he's been able to provide leadership for system changes that have reduced overall city expenses," Gilman said.

There has been a philosophical shift, he added, to the belief that Langley needs more than a volunteer mayor. Paying the person who holds the city's top elected spot is part of that.

"We don't want to create something where the only people who are going to be mayors are people who are retired or independently wealthy," Gilman said.

Gilman said Samuelson is already working 40 hours per week on city business.

"We didn't want to see him burning out," Gilman said. "We wanted to make sure he had a salary that would enable him to provide the useful leadership that he has been doing. And that takes time."

The city council meets at Langley City Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m.

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