Council reviews work plan for DEI commission, discusses salary survey efforts

Assistant City Manager Carolyn Hope

The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Monday, Aug. 7 business meeting reviewed the proposed scope of work for the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission (DEIC).

Last year, the council allocated $60,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to the DEIC for various initiatives.

“Those high-level ideas were related to creating policies, a short- and long-term work, plan strategy development and possibly to pay for event expenses,” said Deputy City Manager Carolyn Hope.

With the funds, the DEIC plans to develop a staff work group that helps implement committee strategies, research challenges and opportunities related to diversity in Mountlake Terrace, and prepare a strategic plan for the DEIC going forward, which would need the council’s approval.

Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl speaks during the Aug. 7 meeting.

“It is high time to have a strategy and a plan as to where we want to go and take this, and I’m excited that we’re finally getting there,” Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl said. “We’re looking forward to working with the consultants and the commission as we move forward to make this all happen.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the council received a review of the various salary surveys the city has conducted over the past year. Hope told the council the city has conducted two surveys in the past 12 months; however, she’s planning on launching another in the near future.

“There had been a survey done last fall internally with an intern that we had,” she said. “There was some frustration around that, as I understand.”

Because of this, the city hired a professional to conduct another survey, which was launched in February and completed in June. Unfortunately, Hope said staff was also unimpressed with that survey, as it didn’t seem to as dive deeply into salary issues as the city had hoped.

“When we reviewed that, we found that it really was not an in-depth salary survey,” she told the council.

The proposed scope of work for the latest salary survey.

The city now plans to launch a third survey that will review many different aspects of salary as opposed to simply the upfront payment to the employee. The survey will compare Mountlake Terrace to 10 cities in the near vicinity that have similar population sizes. In addition to the salary itself, the survey will look at vacation time offered, benefits given and schedule flexibility.

Hope said she plans to come before the council in September or October with the findings, giving councilmembers salary averages of all the cities in comparison to Mountlake Terrace.

“We’ll bring that back to you and show you where we are and what it would take to get to that average,” she said. “And it might be unattainable for us, but it will give us a target and we can make decisions from there about how we get there.”

In other business, the council unanimously approved an easement request for a retaining wall to be built by Sound Transit as well as a contract renewal with the police department for body-worn cameras.

— By Lauren Reichenbach

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