As I have shared in previous columns, Snohomish County is proud of our history supporting the United States Armed Forces and our veterans who have served. Through veteran assistance programs, memorials, and veteran employment initiatives, our County government places high value on those who sacrifice to keep us free. That is why I am proud to have recently introduced legislation to add to our commitment to those who serve.
Last month, I introduced an ordinance to incorporate military differential pay into Snohomish County Code for County employees who also serve in the military reserves. Oftentimes when reservists are deployed, their military pay is significantly less than their County salary which creates financial hardship for their families. Differential pay makes up the difference between an employee’s County salary and their military pay while the individual is on active duty serving our country.
Many other public and private employers offer differential pay to reservists when they are deployed. I was very surprised to learn that our county does not already offer this. Those who work in County government and continue to serve their country in the reserves have made sacrifices to keep us free and safe. Reducing financial hardship for their families while they are deployed is the least we can do to honor their service.
This proposal was brought to me by a County employee who noticed that Snohomish County lacked this type of policy. Joe Davis, a Sheriff’s Deputy, has served in the United States Armed Forces for over 13 years and has been deployed on tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Joe continues to serve as a reservist and will be deployed again. Without differential pay, Joe’s family will face a significant financial impact. That should not happen and I am proud to be working with Joe to make it right.
Joe’s story and service have motivated me to introduce the military pay differential ordinance and work to ensure it is adopted. Incorporating this change will help support our County employees who continue to serve without a significant impact to the County’s budget. It is the least we can do.
Ordinance 21-039 was heard in committee on Monday, June 28th, and it was set for a public hearing. The public hearing on the ordinance is set for July 21st at 10:30 a.m. For more information about the ordinance, visit the County Council’s legislation hub at https://snohomish.legistar.com/Legislation.aspx.
I thank Joe Davis for bringing this idea forward and to the County staff that have worked with me to draft the policy and get this introduced. I look forward to the public hearing and making this important change to support these public servants.
Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1 which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached by email at Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or by phone at 425-512-4810.