Mayor Ed Murray issued an executive order on Friday asking his department heads to develop a strategy for raising the minimum wage for all city employees to $15 per hour.
As Crosscut reported on Thursday, the City Budget Office estimates that the wage increase would add about $690,000 to Seattle’s annual labor costs. There are currently 663 city employees that earn less than $15 per hour, according to the Personnel Office. Most of them work for Seattle Parks and Recreation or Seattle Center.
"I believe that Seattle should be a model, the city itself, for the rest of the employers in this city,” Murray said at a City Hall press conference Friday morning.
Personnel Director Susan Coskey and Budget Director Ben Noble — both Murray appointees — will be responsible for overseeing the pay-hike, and for exploring whether to make it retroactive to the beginning of 2014.
Coskey and Noble will work alongside Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee, a group of representatives from businesses, nonprofits, labor unions and the City Council who are charged with developing a plan for a citywide minimum wage increase.
Murray, however, was careful to note that the effort to increase wages for city workers “does not presuppose outcomes of the advisory committee.” Although the Mayor gave the committee four months to come up with its plan, he said the pay raise for city workers could probably be implemented more quickly. “Of course," he added, "it’s contingent upon council action as well.”