Plan to study salaries of elected officials tabled CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Finksburg

January 27, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

An article in yesterday's Carroll County edition incorrectly implied that the Westminster City Council delayed discussing a proposal to have a citizens committee study the pay and benefits of elected officials. The proposal for a pay study was defeated Monday night.

5) The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

Two Westminster council members who opposed a plan to study the pay and benefits of elected officials said the issue can be discussed when the economy improves.

The council divided 2-2 on the proposal at its Monday night meeting. Council President William F. Haifley killed the measure by declining to use his tie-breaking vote.


One councilman who voted against the citizens study committee indicated he would be willing to look at reimbursing council members for expenses they incur on government business. Westminster elected officials currently receive no mileage reimbursement for expenses.

"I do have a problem with that," said Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. "I think that's not fair."

Mr. Chapin said he and other council members may actually be losing money when they balance their pay against expenses such as mileage to Maryland Municipal League meetings and long distance telephone calls on government business. The council president is paid $3,000, council members $2,400. They receive no benefits.

The mayor is paid $10,000 a year and receives fully paid family health insurance coverage. After 5 years, the mayor is eligible for retirement benefits through the Maryland state employees pension system.

Mr. Chapin said he voted against Councilman Kenneth A. Yowan's proposal for a study committee because, "Under these tough economic times, this is not the time for public officials to get a raise."

Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein, the other opponent, said she feared any increase "would look like political arrogance" in the present economic climate.

Mr. Haifley said he supported Mr. Yowan's proposal, but "I feel that something of that importance should have unanimous council approval before it is put before the voters."

Any change in salary or benefits recommended by the committee would have been submitted for voter approval in the May 10 city election.

Mr. Yowan said he was "disappointed and surprised" by the vote. Ten years have elapsed since the mayor and council received a pay raise, he pointed out.

"I just thought maybe every 10 or 12 years we ought to take a look at it," he said. He said he did not know whether he has a net loss at the end of the year, but estimated he spends $20 to $30 a month on long distance telephone calls on city business. Councilman Edward S. Calwell also supported Mr. Yowan's proposal.

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