MRSC published a blog article last year on Salaries for Elected Officials that includes a detailed section on “May an Elected Official Refuse a Salary?”
As the linked article notes, there are specific provisions in state law for some positions, such as fire and port commissioners, but there is not a comparable provision for cities. Nevertheless, many cities do have local policies on the topic. Here is a city example from Stanwood, and a county example from Chelan County:
- Stanwood Ordinance No. 1342 – Waiver of Mayor/Councilmember Salaries (2013) – Allows mayor or councilmembers to voluntarily decline all or a portion of their salaries, with the waived money to be used for general government purposes, unless the individual mayor/councilmember directs that it should be used for a different purpose.
- Chelan County Municipal Code Sec. 1.164.030 – Allows an elected official to voluntarily receive a salary less than that established for their position.
We recommend reviewing the article and any local procedure for waiving or donating one’s salary with the city’s legal counsel.