Former Mayor Verner seeking $140K in back pay

Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, after not accepting a raise two years ago, requested back pay from her last two days in office just before she left City Hall.

Verner’s annual salary was $100,000 during her four years in office. According to the city charter, the mayor is supposed to have the second highest salary in the city; second to the city administrator.

Throughout her time in office, Verner made it clear that the community was financially struggling.

“Everybody in the community is tightening their belts people really don’t have the ability to absorb a lot more expense,” Verner said on August 4, 2010.

Two years into office, Verner chose to help lessen the city’s massive deficit by capping her pay at $100,000.

“She requested to be paid less than the charter would allow,” City spokesperson Marlene Feist said.

But in a letter written to the city’s director of accounting just days before she left office, Verner said she wants that $140,000 in salary she gave up in her final two years in office.

The city says it is currently seeing what its legal obligations are in this case.

“There is no money currently sitting in the budget to be able to pay for this request so in order to do any kind of payment would require an action of city council to change the budget,” Feist said.

In addition to collecting what Verner calls back pay, the former mayor wants her pension to reflect the $170,000 she would have been making if she had accepted a raise. That would bring her monthly pension up $1,000, from $1,400 to $2,400.

“Basically the pension is a formula based on years of service with the city and the average salary of your highest two years of earning,” Feist said.

Verner was flying from Washington D.C. to Spokane on Thursday afternoon and was unavailable for comment. However, in an
e-mail to the Spokesman-Review
Verner said, “I submitted the requests when i faced the prospect of being unable to support my family and provide medical insurance after having given up almost $300,000 over the last four years.”

Mayor David Condon has been briefed on the matter, but did not have a comment.

KXLY4’s Kylee Cruz contributed to this report

RELATED DOCUMENTS: Verner Request For Back Pay, Retirement Benefits
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