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Performance Evaluations

This page provides examples of employee performance evaluation policies and forms for local governments in Washington State, including information on merit pay increases.


Doing a good job is important both to employers and employees.

For the employing government, if its employees perform their work well, it is better able to maintain or improve the public's perception of its operation, it can accomplish its goals more efficiently and, possibly, with less expense, and it may be able to take on new tasks without adding additional staff or budgetary commitment.

For an employee, doing a good job helps create job satisfaction, may allow for career advancement, and may trigger higher wages or benefits. But how does one know whether they are doing a good job? Is the employee meeting the goals and duties of the position? Or is poor performance placing the employee's continued employment at risk?

Personnel performance evaluations, if made on a continuing basis, allow the employer and the employee an opportunity to see how things are going, determine if there are problems that can be fixed, and set out goals for the upcoming year (or months).

Examples of Forms and Policies

The following are examples of forms that could be used in making performance evaluations, along with materials that offer suggestions and criteria to help prepare the evaluations.

Washington Local Government Examples

Washington State Examples

Other Examples

Merit Pay

Most employees hope for periodic wage increases, and it is not uncommon for local government employers to provide cost of living increases, recognizing that the cost of goods and services are increasing.

Some jurisdictions will also recognize an employee's worth to the organization based upon their years of service, while other jurisdictions may choose to base wage increases upon the "merit" that an employee has achieved. Has a particular employee met or surpassed all of their employment goals? Has the employee worked efficiently? Have the employee's achievements resulted in savings? Depending upon performance, certain employees may be rewarded with a wage increase in recognition of the merit of their work.

Practice Tip: Unless a merit pay system is carefully constructed, there is a risk that any additional wage provided in recognition of the employee's merit could be considered a gift, which would violate the state constitution. Thus, criteria for a merit wage increase must be adopted in advance of any work being performed so that an employee will know that if the criteria is met or exceeded, a wage increase will follow, not as a gift but in recognition that the certain work goals have been met.


  • Bothell Employee Classification and Salary Plan (2022) – Provides that salary advances within pay range, other than those received for promotions or as provided by collective bargaining agreements or the city’s salary administration policy, shall be based upon the employee’s annual performance evaluation.
  • Ellensburg Compensation Policy (2023) – See Section 5.3 (Employee Pay Rates); defines merit pay as increase in pay of one step in the appropriate pay range, for the purpose of recognizing reliable achievement over time by the employee meeting or exceeding supervisory expectations.
  • King County Executive Branch Performance Appraisal and Guidelines (2017) – Allows appointing authority to grant multiple step increases for employees participating in the county’s performance appraisal system based on performance evaluation scoring system available in Appendix A.
  • Milton Compensation for Exempt Employees (2018) – Employee’s salary may be adjusted within established range based on an annual performance evaluation. Merit pay adjustment shall be recommended by employee’s supervisor and approved by mayor. Includes adopting resolution.
  • Port of Seattle Total Rewards Program (2018) – Provides range of increase options documented in a "Pay For Performance Matrix" determined by the performance review conducted by the manager or supervisor.

Recommended Resources

The following articles discuss why performance evaluations should be performed and provide insight as to how such evaluations should be performed.

Last Modified: February 23, 2024