Thurston County Elected Officials May Get a Combined $46,000 in Raises in 2022

Posted

Most Thurston County elected officials may get at least a 4.2% raise for their six figure salaries in 2022 if proposed increases are approved.

The county's Citizen's Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials will accept public comment on the proposed salaries during a hearing on Monday, Dec. 13, according to a county news release.

County Auditor Mary Hall may see the largest pay increase at 7% while Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim may see the lowest at just 2.22%. All other elected officials — the County Commissioners, Assessor, Clerk, Coroner, Sheriff and Treasurer — are slated to receive 4.2% increases, per data in the release.

Here's how much Thurston County's elected officials may be making in 2022 compared to 2021 under the current proposal:

The salary commission sets the compensation for the County Commissioners and issues recommendations for the remaining elected officials.

The Board of County Commissioners ultimately has the authority to set the compensation for the other elected officials but not their own.

One caveat to this process is the Prosecuting Attorney's salary. The county shares the cost of Tunheim's salary with the state and it is tied to the salary of a superior court judge, per statue.

This means Tunheim's salary may be adjusted by the state on a different schedule than the county, salary commission program manager Ruth Elder said.

Elected officials did not receive pay increases going into 2021 due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Elder said.

Going into 2020, the county increased salaries by 3.8% for all but two elected officials. That year, the Prosecuting Attorney saw a 10.67% increase and the Sheriff saw a 7% increase.

From 2016 to 2020, every position has seen a raise of at least 2% every year, the Olympian previously reported.

To determine the proposed salaries, the salary commission considers several factors. It looks at salaries in other counties, cost-of-living data and how elected official's salaries compare to their subordinates.

The salary commission includes 10 seats, per the county's website, but just five members currently serve. Seats for representatives in Districts 1-3 and a legal profession representative remain vacant.

A public hearing on the proposed salary increases has been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 152 on Lakeridge Drive Southwest in Olympia.

Residents can attend in-person or remotely by calling 360-252-9027. Those calling in must enter the password 1234, enter # and follow some prompts.