Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1968 NO. 36 > Dec 5 1968

(1) The constitutional amendment contained in H.J.R. No. 13, which was adopted by the voters at the 1968 general election, grants to all municipal officers who do not fix their own compensation a constitutional right henceforth to receive the salary provided for by the state law or municipal ordinance in effect at the time that their services are being rendered, notwithstanding a city charter provision to the effect that the salary of no officer of the city shall be increased during his term of office. (2) Where the salary of a mayor of a city is fixed by city ordinance, the mayor is an officer who fixes his own compensation within the meaning of H.J.R. No. 13, where he is a member of the city council or commission which enacts all city ordinances; however, he is not such an officer if he has only a veto power over ordinances passed by the city council.  Where the mayor is authorized to cast either an affirmative or negative vote on an ordinance in the event of a tie in the votes of the councilmen, he will be prevented by the constitution from receiving a pay raise during his term of office only where his own affirmative vote becomes necessary for the passage of an ordinance raising his salary. (3) Where the mayor of a city is a member of the council or commission which enacts all city ordinances, he may not qualify himself to receive a mid-term increase in his compensation by abstaining from participating in the enactment of an ordinance involving his compensation as mayor.