Hattery Calls On Byron To Give Up Raise

Incumbent Says She'll Return$102,000 Of '91 Office Budget Money

January 08, 1992|By Staff report

Delegate Thomas Hattery, D-Frederick, has called for Representative Beverly B. Byron to return her $35,000 annual pay raise.

The MountAiry resident is challenging the seven-term 6th District incumbent from Frederick in the March Democratic primary.

Hattery lost to Byron in the 1980 Democratic primary, three yearsbefore he began his service at the State House.

"She voted to cutfunding for child nutrition and to deny an increase of the minimum wage to $4.55 per hour, but she voted herself a pay raise of $17.50 per hour," said Hattery. "She votes against funding for education and housing and against job creation by denying help to small and medium size businesses.

"If she believes we can't afford these services for the people she should at least be consistent. She should not have voted for this huge pay raise and now she should return it."

"The governor, the lieutenant governor, the comptroller, the treasurer, thesecretary of state, the attorney general and many other officials are giving back all or part of their salaries because times are tough and we're asking others to sacrifice," he said. "These officials got their increases without voting for them. Byron voted for hers and should now give it back."

Hattery also said he has returned his delegate's salary increase to the state. Delegates' annual salaries rose in1991 to $27,000, up from $25,000; in 1993, they are scheduled to receive $28,000.

While Byron has not said she will return the pay raise, she says she will return about $102,000 of unused money from her 1991 operating budget. The money, which represents nearly 13 percent of the total budget, is for mailings, office equipment and salaries.

Because of a change in congressional procedure mandated by 1990 legislative appropriations as part of the overall congressional reform effort, 1991 was the first year each member's office had complete management responsibility for its office mail account.

Budgets for franked mail are determined for each congressional district based on the number of non-business addresses in the district. Postal patron mailings such as Byron's three annual newsletters, as well as responses to individual constituent inquiries, are included in the mail account.

"Addressing personal concerns is an important part of my duties," she said. "I consider those individual responses to constituent inquiries, which my office handles well in excess of 30,000 annually, tobe one of my top priorities. That's why I allocate a small portion -- this year it made up 38 percent -- of the mail budget to mass mailings like the newsletter."

Byron said the newsletter, "despite someof the criticism, is the only means I have to communicate directly with the majority of my constituents."

"This isn't just a one-time example of reducing costs in my office. At a time when franking regulations permitted up to six newsletters per year, we had cut back to just three," she said.

"Prior to redistricting, the 6th District was the largest in the state by far, yet I've reduced the size of my staff from 22 to 16. And we're handling a greater volume of mail and individual cases every year."

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