CARLSBORG — A 2-1 majority of the Clallam County Public Utility District board has voted to give General Manager Doug Nass a 3 percent raise.
District Commissioners Will Purser and David Anderson voted Monday — with Commissioner Jim Waddell opposed — to raise Nass’ annual salary from $229,428 to $237,036 effective Sunday.
Nass has been the general manager at Clallam County PUD for more than 13 years.
“To speak quite frankly, this utility was in pretty bad shape,” longtime PUD Commissioner Will Purser said of Nass’ arrival in 2006.
“Doug, along with the commission, has kind of brought it into current day standards.”
Purser said the approved raise was a cost-of-living increase similar to what other PUD employees had received.
He added that the board reviewed the salaries of other PUD general managers around the state and the nation.
District commissioners discussed salary ranges but made no decision on Nass’ salary in a prior executive session, PUD attorney Simon Barnhart said.
Other elements of Nass’ compensation package were unchanged.
Nass will continue to earn an additional $2,000 per month in deferred compensation and receive a $500 monthly automobile allowance and 49 paid days off, according to the approved resolution.
Waddell, who was elected in 2018, did not discuss his opposition to the raise during the meeting.
In a later interview, Waddell said Nass was already earning a “pretty significant salary.”
“It’s one of the highest government salaries, for sure, on the whole North Olympic Peninsula,” Waddell said when reached by cellphone.
Waddell said district is facing considerable rate pressures amid changing power markets.
“It’s hard for me to go back to our customers and say ‘OK we need to give this guy a raise in the face of utility rate challenges,’” Waddell said.
Last December, PUD commissioners approved 3.5 percent electric rate increases for 2020 and 2021.
Commissioners had previously authorized 4.2 percent water rate increases and 5.9 percent wastewater rate hikes in each of the next five years.
Waddell had said the annual rate increases should be viewed as not-to-exceed amounts.
“I feel like we have got to do a better job turning over every stone with how we manage rates,” Waddell said Monday.
“A lot of the people I talk to are having a hard time paying their power bills,” Waddell added.
“We need some innovation here. That’s why I didn’t vote for the raise.”
During the meeting, Purser said the general manager’s raise was based on comparable data from the Washington Public Utility Districts Association and American Public Power Association.
“There was significant benchmarking,” Purser said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].