Pay raise proposed for mayor, council Bill must be enacted by early December or wait four years

October 24, 1995|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

The mayor and the 19-member Baltimore City Council could be in line for a hefty pay raise, the first since 1987 and one aimed at keeping city elected officials on a pace with surrounding counties.

A bill was introduced last night in the City Council, detailing pay increases for all elected officials, including the comptroller. Salaries would jump by 33 percent for the mayor and by 29 percent for the council members and comptroller, beginning in December.

The bill asks that the mayor's salary be raised by $20,000, giving him $80,000. The comptroller and the City Council president are in line for $12,000 increases to $65,000 a year. The council vice president would jump $7,500 to $38,000 and the remaining 17 members of the council are slated for $7,000 raises, to $36,000.

Councilman Martin E. "Mike" Curran of the 3rd District, who is retiring after serving 19 years, drafted the bill. He said he based the increases on the comparable pay for elected officials in the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's.

The bill now goes to a public hearing by the Committee on Policy and Planning, chaired by Mr. Curran, at 10 a.m. Nov. 9 at City Hall. The six-member committee could vote to reduce the pay or not grant the increases at all. Council members on the committee are Nicholas C. D'Adamo, Anthony J. Ambridge, Paula Branch, Martin O'Malley, Lawrence Bell and Iris G. Reeves. Members supporting the bill include Mr. Curran, Ms. Branch, Agnes Welch, Rochelle "Rikki" Spector and members not BTC returning next year, Wilbur E. "Bill" Cunningham, Vera P. Hall and Iris G. Reeves.

"It's never right for a raise, but this one is well overdue," Mr. Curran said. "It has been eight years. If we don't do it now, it will be 12 years."

The bill must be passed and signed by the mayor before the end of this four-year council term Dec. 4. If not enacted by then, raises will have to wait another four years to go into effect because the council can only vote on raises that affect the next full term.

For at least a year, there have been efforts to increase salaries of elected officials. In 1994, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke appointed a commission to study salaries.

It concluded that the mayor should receive $100,000. The panel decided that the council president, often a mayoral nemesis, should get only a $2,000 raise while the vice president, often a mayoral spokesman, was recommanded for a $10,000 raise.

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