Panel to begin review of county executive, council salaries ,,for next term Hefty raises granted four years ago

September 02, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

A story in yesterday's Howard editions should have said that the first meeting of the Howard County Compensation Review Commission is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 9.

) The Sun regrets the error.

As Groundhog Day is a reminder that spring is just around the corner, so the first meeting of the county Compensation Review Commission is a reminder that local elections are almost here.

The commission, newly appointed every four years to recommended salaries for the next county executive and members of the next County Council, will hold its initial meeting at 7:30 p.m. today in the council conference room.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

By law, the seven-member commission is required to recommend the salaries by December.

The council may accept or reduce what the commission recommends, but it cannot increase the recommendations.

Four years ago, the commission recommended a $20,000 raise - 33 percent -- for the executive and a $9,500 increase -- 53 percent -- or council members.

The council accepted the recommendations and voted to increase the executive's salary to $80,000 a year and council members' salaries to $27,500, with $1,000 extra for the chairman.

Elected officials' salaries cannot be increased during a four-year term of office. But the commission will be asked to review that policy and look at the possibility of providing elected officials a cost-of-living increase each year.

Rank-and-file county employees have not received a cost of living increase for three years and in some instances have suffered cuts because of unpaid furloughs.

The commission will be asked to consider the economic conditions of the past three years when making its recommendations. It also will be asked to compare elected officials' salaries here with those in the state's other charter counties.

Although the Howard County Council is still considered a part-time job, council members double as the Liquor Board and the Zoning Board, and conduct many day meetings as well as night meetings and hearings.

The commission will be asked to examine the council workload and recommend a salary commensurate with it.

Before making a recommendation to the council, the commission is expected to conduct a public hearing on its proposals.

The commission, which was appointed earlier this year by the County Council, is comprised of seven county residents: Sally Burner of Ellicott City; Boyd Mettee of Sykesville; and Haskell Arnold, Delroy Cornick, John Isaac, Marshall Peterson and Joseph Raksis, all of Columbia.

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