CA head to receive pay raise

April 29, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

An article in The Sun for Howard County Friday incorrectly reported the salary of Columbia Association President Padraic Kennedy. His total compensation for fiscal 1995, including salary and incentive bonus, is $102,985, a 10.6 percent increase over his 1994 base salary of $93,115.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The Columbia Council approved last night measures allowing residents to petition issues of concern to Columbia-wide referendums and granting a 9.5 percent pay increase to the president of the Columbia Association.

A referendum, or "advisory vote," would not be binding on the council and could only be called on issues under the council's authority.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The $9,870 pay increase -- $2,468 in base salary and a $7,402 bonus -- raises CA President Padraic Kennedy's total compensation from $104,289 this year to $114,159 for fiscal 1995, which begins Sunday.

The increase is determined by a council committee based on how CA performs compared with management objectives established early each fiscal year.

The council voted 8-2 to award the increase.

Councilwoman Norma Rose voted against it, saying Mr. Kennedy's current compensation is adequate and arguing that the method used to determine annual increases is "not appropriate" for CA.

"It's derived from private corporate practices," Ms. Rose said. "I don't believe the Columbia Association is a business."

Councilwoman Evelyn Richardson, who chaired the committee, countered that the group "spent an extraordinary amount of time" comparing Mr. Kennedy's performance with financial and administrative goals and did not "rubber-stamp" objectives put forward by Mr. Kennedy. She did say that a re-evaluation of the the system for determining the president's pay might be in order.

The 10-member council, which serves as CA's board of directors, has debated the merits of instituting a referendum procedure and intricate details of how to conduct it for months, earlier dropping a proposal that would have allowed binding referendums on certain issues.

Some council members hailed the new measure as a step toward increasing citizen participation and a more democratic process in the unincorporated community.

"I'm not sure it's a good analogy, but in watching the drama in South Africa this week -- the joy people experienced and all the chaos -- should they have put it off for another six months or a year?" said Ms. Rose, who spearheaded the effort for referendums.

Others questioned the merit of referendums, saying residents have ample opportunity to express opinions at village board and council meetings.

"I realize my vote goes against motherhood, apple pie and democracy, but I don't think this is the panacea it's supposed to be," said Ms. Richardson, who abstained from voting along with council members Suzanne Waller and Roy Lyons. The seven other members voted for the proposal.

"I have very great concern a referendum could be used in damaging ways to the business of CA and the people of Columbia," Ms. Waller said.

The council sets policy, the budget, recreational membership rates and the annual property charge for the private nonprofit association, which manages Columbia's recreational facilities, community programs and open spaces.

A referendum could be called by a majority vote of the council or with the signatures of 2,500 Columbia residents of voting age on a petition. The provision will expire after three years unless a future council renews it.

Two members of the Long Reach village board spoke against the referendum proposal. Both expressed concern that the council might disagree in principle with the results of an advisory vote recommending a major change, such as cutting the annual property assessment rate by 25 percent.

"The idea is to encourage residents' participation," said Cecilia Januszkiewicz. "The quickest way to kill that is to have a referendum and then ignore the result. That's the bind you put yourself into."

David Zeitzer said, "If we really care what residents think, there are lots of ways to find out."

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