A plan by City President Mary Pat Clarke to raise the salaries of City Council members by 24 percent, to $36,000, might make sense if Baltimore had the same number of council members as, say, Baltimore County.
In fact, however, Baltimore city elects 18 council members -- three times the number the county finds necessary to govern a population of similar size. That's why fat pay raises to keep city council salaries in line with those of their county counterparts are a luxury Baltimore simply can't afford.
Yes, we've heard the arguments for higher council salaries -- and they don't hold water. Council jobs are supposed to be part-time posts, not lifetime sinecures. And yes, we are aware some council members in both the city and county have parlayed their positions into full-time careers. But that's a personal choice, and the incentive certainly shouldn't be financial in any case.