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Land Management

Water district approves raises, property sale

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Belfair Water District commissioners approved raises for two employees and agreed to sell some of its wetland property to the state at this Tuesday's regular meeting.

Public records officer Sta-cie Marrocco and field technician Mike Brown received a 35-cent-per-hour and a 75-cent-per-hour raise, respectively.

The raises were awarded to make their salaries competitive with that of employees at other water districts, said Commission Chair John Phillips.

"They were two salary increases to improve our employees, based upon our manager's recommendations," he said.

Commissioner Mike Pope countered that Brown had received a raise in September and that the raises should be spread out annually, given the slow economy.

The commission also voted to sell the district's wetland property, behind the building, to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for $5,000.

"Fish and Wildlife appraised the property for $5,200, but under state law, if it's over $5,000 you have to jump through hoops, so we're selling it to them without jumping through those hoops," Phillips said. "They're buying some of these adjacent properties too, and we can't use it because it's wetlands."

The board also approved the purchase of a new copier and fax machine.

"We bought a machine two years ago and the public records have basically killed the machine," said District Manager Dave Tipton.

The district has received more than two dozen public records requests in the past year, and Marrocco works one day per week on fulfilling the requests.

The new copy machine would be leased at $112 per month and include all maintenance and a fax machine. The district leased the previous fax machine at $130 per month.

Pope argued that the district should not purchase a new machine without looking at other options, but the district secretary said that it was the cheapest option the staff had researched.

"It is the discretionary authority of the manager's to do this if he wishes," Phillips said. "The commissioners do not micromanage the manager."

Commissioner Harry Hatlem agreed.

"This does save us money, it does save us electricity, it does save us on so many things, so let's go with our manager," he said.

Following the meeting, Phillips added that he would not be running an active campaign this election season for the commissioner seat he filed for.

"I've been in politics for 40 years and I've never lost an election, and I was prepared to run again," said Phillips, who has been a district commissioner for 10 years. "But I'm down [at the district office] three days a week, and my church wants me to go on some missions, and my grandchildren want to see more of me ... I am not going to run an active campaign. I have unofficially withdrawn and I would support Linnie Griffin. Ten years is enough for me."

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Original Publication Date: July 14, 2011

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