Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden has ordered 4 percent pay increases for all county department heads and their staffs to match a negotiated raise that county merit employees received Jan. 1.
The raises will cost the county between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. The pay for the top tier of county department heads will be increased by $2,700 to $70,304, and the second tier by $2,400 to $65,978.
Hayden should more than recoup the expense with an ordered $100,000 cut in the county tourism office and the firing of its $46,000-a-year director, Susan Steckman. The newly renovated Towson tourism office, a restored old stone house that then-Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen opened with a formal ceremony and ribbon-cutting 13 months ago, will be closed.
Economic Development Commission Director Dick Story said he has decided to close the county's new tourism office and move the remaining two employees into his own staff offices under the title of "Marketing and Promotions."
Those to get raises include the directors of police, budget, finance, economic development and public works and the county attorney. Raises also will go to the second tier of department heads, which includes central services, planning, permits and licenses, recreation and parks and community development.
The directors of personnel, aging and fire departments all make more than those administrators, because they were promoted from the ranks of merit employees and already had higher salaries as deputies than do other county department heads.
Personnel Director Carroll C. McComas gets $71,178; Aging Director Dr. Philip Pushkin is paid $77,162, and Fire Chief Elwood Banister gets $82,329.
School Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel, whose salary is set by the school board, remains the county's highest paid official, at $102,077 a year. The directors of social services, health and libraries also have salaries set either by the state or an independent board.
The only top official not receiving a raise is county Administrative Officer Merreen Kelly, who is being paid $69,000. The County Council controls his pay.
Hayden, who vowed during last year's successful election campaign to reject an automatic $12,000 pay raise authorized by the County Council, said he has done that. He said he would, however, take a 4 percent raise of $2,920 on June 5, halfway through his first year in office. That will increase his pay to $75,920.
Also receiving raises were executive and administrative office staff aides and heads of various other county agencies such as the zoning commissioner, labor commissioner and the directors of the Offices of Communications, Substance Abuse, Minority Affairs and the Criminal Justice Coordinator.
County department heads have received pay raises at the whim of the elected executive over the past 12 years. That is one reason that some deputy department heads and bureau chiefs covered by the county merit system make more money than their bosses. The last round of pay raises also matched increases received by merit employees when Dennis Rasmussen gave appointed directors 4 percent on July 1, 1989.