Liberty Lake wages and salary

Would you work for $8 per hour?

in Featured/Government and Politics

Since $8.00/hr is below the legal minimum wage the answer should be obvious. Before you answer, let us take look at what the job is all about and what you will be doing for $8/hr.

First, you will declare your intent to apply for the job by filling out some paperwork, pay an application fee, and submit all requirements before the deadline.

Then, you will need pay for some signs, ads, and other supplies. Or, you will need to go around asking people to donate money to cover these costs.

Once you have all this done, you will begin the interview process where strangers will make assumptions, challenge your character, ask repeatedly about your experience, and look through your closet for skeletons.

At some point, you will have to stand up on a stage and share your qualifications with a large group while others, who also want this job, will try to publicly diminish your value.

After investing a huge amount of time and money over many months, you will arrive at decision day where a few thousand people decide if you are worthy of working for them.

If you are not hired, you will not be reimbursed for your time and money.

If you are hired, you will find that you work for thousands of bosses with hundreds of them being micro managers. These managers have never done the job before, but feel they could do it better than you. They will ask you to look after millions of dollars and most of them will have conflicting instructions on what to do with the money.

Your schedule is flexible; as it is a part-time job. However, you will be required to attended meetings almost every Tuesday night for a few hours. For part of the meeting you will be required to listen to your bosses tell you what you are doing wrong and that you are not good at your job.

Your bosses would appreciate it if you also worked most Saturday’s for half the year. They also strongly recommend you attend frequent conferences, committee meetings, webinars, training, and workshops.

There is some room for advancement to make over double the amount, but it requires going through the above process again. However, there likely won’t be any cost of living raises for a few years at a time.

How about now? Interested in the job?
Believe or not, there are a few people who answered, “Yes”. Those people currently sit on the Liberty Lake City Council.

City councilmembers are paid $400/month.
I polled the council to ask how much time they invest into the city each month and three of them responded; resulting in  an average of 48 hours.

This is a conservative number with some months and some members putting in over 60 hours. This means they earn somewhere between $5 to $8 per hour.

Here are some of the things they spend their time on:

  • Council Meetings
  • Committee Meetings
  • Meeting Prep
  • Packet Review and Research
  • Farmer’s Market Booth
  • AWC Meetings, Conferences, Webinars
  • GSI Meetings
  • Workshops
  • Social Media
  • Emails
  • Phone Calls
  • Ribbon Cuttings
  • Special Events
  • Meetings with Residents
  • and more

Many of the members have college degrees, lifetimes of work experience, and specialized training. Their hourly worth outside of council is far greater.

The mayor is not far behind. He is currently compensated $1,250/mo and likely puts in much more than 48 hours a month; which puts him around the $20/hour range. Not many CEO’s who are in charge of $10’s of millions of dollars get paid only $20/hr. Even in the world of non-profits, executives are paid many times this amount.

To top it all off, they have not received a wage increase in many years. If you calculate yearly cost of living into their salary, it means they actually get a pay cut every year. In addition, they are considering the idea of holding two workshops a month on the weeks there are no council meetings.

Clearly, those who take this job don’t do it for the money.  They serve the community for different reasons, but likely “volunteer” their time to help facilitate positive change and constant improvement in quality of life for the residents.

As someone who is constantly petitioning the council and mayor to spend less money, I would not hesitate to support an effort to increase their own compensation.

I don’t always agree with their vision of positive change or improved quality of life, but can’t argue with the fact they are under paid.

Next time you run into Cris Kaminskas, Dan Dunne, Hugh Severs, Odin Langford, Shane Brickner, Robert Moore, Mike Kennedy, or Steve Peterson, please remember to thank them for their service to our community.

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Brian is a Liberty Lake resident and entrepreneur. He and his wife own a web development firm and publish the Liberty Lake Gazette. When he is not working on websites and publishing news for Liberty Lake, Brian enjoys kayaking, disc golf, travel, and camping with his wife and daughter.

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