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King County Must Revise Cost-Of-Living Pay Policy

by July 7th, 2010

By Seattle Times editorial board

Two Metropolitan King County Council members propose new labor policies that would end the county’s long-standing and anachronistic automatic cost-of-living pay increases. The council would be wise to adopt either or a combination of both plans.

County employees have been living in an altered state, pretending the county has enough money to award employees 2 to 6 percent annual cost-of-living increases even if that cost dropped as it did last year. That makes no sense.

Council Chairman Bob Ferguson and Councilmember Kathy Lambert offer different proposals to accomplish similar goals: to change de facto policy that institutionalizes cost-of-living increases. Lambert has been working this issue almost two years and deserves considerable kudos for bringing the matter to the forefront.

Lambert and Ferguson should join forces to combine and refine proposals and rally enough votes to support the new approach. By doing so, the council would send a powerful message to labor that the economic realities of the 21st century require new rules.