Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke says he does not favor an increase in the mayor's $60,000 salary because it would "send the wrong signal" to voters.
Schmoke has not formally announced his intention to seek a second term. But his campaign has already raised more than $1 million for next fall's elections. Schmoke's decision to hold the salary at its current level means it cannot change during the next four-year term beginning in December 1991.
"I know times are tough. It's a time for belt-tightening," Schmoke said. "I will join in this effort by not seeking a salary increase."
The salaries of the mayor, comptroller, City Council president and council members are set at four-year intervals.
The state constitution bars elected officials from changing their salaries during their terms. Consequently, the council salaries are set by council members during the final year of their terms. The council approves the salaries as part of the budget package. The salaries of the mayor, the council president and the comptroller are set by a City Council ordinance.
Schmoke, who is preparing for a re-election campaign next year, said he does not want a pay raise. But he said he has not asked council members or other officials not to seek pay increases.
"I haven't addressed the salaries of other officials," he said. "There may be legitimate reasons for an increase for others."
The mayor's salary increased from $53,000 to $60,000 in 1987, when Schmoke took office. The salaries of the council president and comptroller went to $53,000 from $45,000 at the same time. Those increases were initiated during the administration of Clarence H. Du Burns, who preceeded Schmoke as mayor.
City Council members receive $29,000 annually. While most council members hold outside jobs, they say they work at least 40 hours a week on council business, including community meetings, political events and council hearings and meetings.
"This is not a part-time job by any stretch of the imagination," said Councilman Joseph J. DiBlasi, D-6th.
Several council members said they do, indeed, want pay raises.
"We certainly are not in the same position as the mayor," said one council member.