Monday, January 16, 2012

Verner defends back-pay request

Posted on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner addressed the controversy surrounding her request for backpay from her term as mayor in a Facebook post on Monday.

The mayor claims the whole affair, which came to light after a letter she submitted to the city asking for extra pay from her term was leaked to the Spokesman last week, is a political maneuver against her.

"Recent 'news' about my City pay resulted from misplaced trust in advisors who said that, if I submitted letters, written just-so, I would receive an evaluation of the last two years of my declined salary and impacts on my retirement," Verner wrote.

Shortly after assuming office in 2007, Verner cut her own pay to $100,000 from $170,000, the standard rate for the position. In her Facebook post, she says her take-home pay during her term was $68,000, and she saw most of her retirement money disappear as the stock market went south in 2008.

The request to the city was for about $140,000 in pay she would have earned had she not cut her pay. 

"I presumed these were private personnel matters," the ex-mayor wrote. "But as hastily as my letters were prepared, they were hastily leaked and … a story was born! I walked into a crafty political trap, and I’ve learned another valuable lesson that strengthens me for the work ahead."

After the story broke, Verner told KHQ that she would not accept any additional payment from the city if her request was granted.

The city declined to give her the money anyway.

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