Bigger raises favored for commissioners, prosecutor

February 18, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- Carroll lawmakers voted yesterday to give the county commissioners a $2,500 annual raise and the state's attorney a $10,000 raise -- larger increases than the legislators had agreed on two weeks ago.

"Everyone has the right to change his mind," said Del. Richard C. Matthews, R-District 5A, the delegation chairman.

The delegation, except for Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte, a Democrat who also represents part of Baltimore County, met to discuss salaries and other issues at the House Office Building.

The lawmakers voted to increase the state's attorney's salary from $60,000 to $70,000 a year, effective after this year's general election.

Sen. Charles H. Smelser, D-District 4, abstained from the vote.

On Feb. 1, the delegation voted to increase the state's attorney's salary to $62,500. State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, who is running for re-election, had requested an increase in the salary to $82,000.

Del. Donald B. Elliott, R-District 4B, suggested the raise to $70,000 for the Carroll state's attorney.

Mr. Matthews suggested raising the prosecutor's salary to $75,000, because, he said, state's attorneys in other counties are paid more than Carroll's.

Charles County's legislators have requested raising their state's attorney's salary to $85,000 next year, and the Somerset County delegation wants to raise the prosecutor's salary there to $72,000.

The Carroll delegates also voted yesterday to increase the three county commissioners' salaries from $30,000 to $32,500 a year, effective after this year's election.

On Feb. 1, the delegation voted to increase the salary by $1,000.

Yesterday, Mr. Matthews asked his colleagues to reconsider and raise the salary to $35,000.

"I just thought $31,000 wasn't a big enough jump," he said.

Del. Richard N. Dixon, D-District 5A, suggested the $32,500 figure.

"These are the individuals that are the executive and legislative branches of the county. They run the county," he said.

Mr. Matthews said the commissioners did not ask for a raise. Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy have said they will run for re-election. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said she is considering running for a District 5 seat in the House of Delegates.

Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-District 5, said the higher salary might attract better-qualified candidates. "You don't really get quality candidates a lot of the time," he said.

Mr. Smelser abstained from that vote because, he said, Frederick County's commissioners will not get a raise next year.

Mr. Matthews presented House Bill 1348, on the commissioners' raises, to the Commerce and Government Matters Committee yesterday.

House Bill 1295, on the state's attorney's raise, is to be heard by the Judiciary Committee on March 17.

Two weeks ago, the county delegation also voted to raise the salaries of Orphan's Court judges to $7,500 from $6,500 a year and to increase the sheriff's salary to $37,500 from $35,000. Hearings on those increases are scheduled next month.

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