The County Council raised the retirement age for elected and appointed officials from 50 to 60 Wednesday night.
The seven-member council unanimously voted in favor of the pension law revision, though council members George F. Bachman, D-Linthicum, and Diane R. Evans, R-Arnold, wanted to withdraw the legislation for further study.
The bill applies to workers hired after last Dec. 1.
Bachman and Evans were concerned that the legislation may be open to legal challenge by employees hired between that date and the day the new law takes effect. But Richard Mayer, county personnel director, said no elected or appointed officials have come on board since then.
Delaying passage of the pension bill would increase the chances that someone would be hired under the existing retirement provision, which allows retirements at age 50, Mayer and other council members argued.
Just two years ago, the council reduced the retirement age for electedand top-ranking appointees from 60 to 50. The council wanted to makethe retirement age consistent with that of police and fire officials.
Citizens harshly criticized the council for reducing the retirement age. The move to raise the age once more reflects the new economy-conscious mood of county government.
Evans said the bill should have been withdrawn and studied rather than rushed throughfor the sakeof "political expediency."
"It's not a matter of political expediency," countered Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis.
"It's an issue of money in the taxpayers' pockets."
l In other action, the council:
* Softened a bill regulating the sand and gravel industryby allowing excavators to sell materials on Saturdays and by limiting the fee they must pay to cover the cost of regular inspections.
The fees are limited to $2,000 for operations of 49 acres or less and$3,500 for more than 50 acres.
A hearing on the amended bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River, is set for May 16. The bill already has had several hearings.
* Approved an animal control bill that raises dog license fees, creates a groom parlor license and sets stricter standards for pet care.