Big pay raise sought for next head of police Change may affect ads and deadlines

September 28, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

Determined to woo the best and brightest candidate to run Baltimore's beleaguered police force, eight City Council members introduced a resolution last night calling for a substantial pay increase for the next police commissioner.

Under the measure, the new commissioner would receive an annual salary of $120,000 instead of $91,400 and would become the second-highest-paid department head in Baltimore after Walter G. Amprey, the superintendent of schools. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is paid $60,000 a year.

Councilman Martin O'Malley drafted the resolution after talking to police officers who said the current pay is too meager to attract top candidates to replace Edward V. Woods, the embattled police commissioner who is retiring Nov. 1.

Big cities such as Chicago and New York pay their police chiefs at least $120,000, Mr. O'Malley said.

"What we're trying to do is to get the best person nationally," said the 3rd District Democrat.

He emphasized that residents across the city are fed up with crime.

Councilman Lawrence A. Bell, a frequent critic of Mr. Woods, was among seven co-sponsors of the resolution. In January, Mr. Bell called for the commissioner's resignation if the city's soaring murder rate didn't begin to drop.

"Nowadays, the size of cities and the complexity of the job requires a great deal of sophistication," said Mr. Bell, a 4th District Democrat who wants the new commissioner to come from outside the 2,900-member department.

Mr. Schmoke appointed an eight-member panel to conduct a national search for a new police commissioner after Mr. Woods' surprise announcement Aug. 4.

The committee advertised the position in City & State, a bimonthly Chicago-based magazine that reports on public business; the Afro-American, The Sun and the Washington Post, and through police organizations.

Friday was the deadline for applying for the position, but Mr. O'Malley suggested that the position be advertised again for several weeks, this time at the higher salary.

Whether the committee will agree to extend the search was uncertain yesterday. Mr. Schmoke said the salary does not seem to have been an impediment in recruiting candidates.

The resolution was turned over to the council's Public Safety Committee for further debate.

Council President Mary Pat Clarke suggested simultaneously launching a review of all city officials' salaries.

The higher salary would make Baltimore's next police commissioner the highest-paid head of a police force in the state. State police Superintendent Larry W. Tolliver is paid $82,000. The pay for police chiefs in surrounding counties is $71,209 in Howard County, $84,557 in Anne Arundel County and $87,000 in Baltimore County.

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