Council votes raises for mayor and members Schmoke to get 58 percent increase to $95,000

Plan breezes through

Panel to receive salary of $37,000, a 28 percent boost

November 14, 1995|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Just days after the Baltimore City Council held a public hearing pushing a 24 percent raise for itself and a 33 percent raise for the mayor, the legislative panel changed its mind last night and made the salary incre two council members voting against it.

The council body would see its salaries increase from $29,000 a year to $37,000.

The original plan, which was introduced three weeks ago, would have given council members $36,000.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's salary would increase from $60,000 to $95,000. The original plan had the mayor making $80,000.

Councilman Martin E. "Mike" Curran, head of the Policy and Planning Committee that drafted both plans, said he thought the newest increases were fairer.

"We just thought this was more equitable," Mr. Curran said.

Mr. Curran has maintained for weeks that the raises are long overdue and that his aim was to make City Council salaries comparable with those of area county councils governing similar-size populations.

At the public hearing last week when the first salary increase plan was discussed, only one person protested. Two others said the raises should be greater.

The last raise for the council was in 1987.

With this new bill, the 19-member council would earn more than Baltimore County Council members, who make $30,900 but less than the Montgom-ery and Prince George's county councils, whose members earn $56,029 and $51,347 respectively.

First District Councilman John L. Cain, who voted against the increase, said at last night's meeting that he thought it inappropriate for a council to vote itself a raise after the Nov. 7 election.

Mr. Curran suggested in the meeting that Mr. Cain give his $8,000 raise to the homeless or the needy. Mr. Cain declined the suggestion. "I deserve the raise," he said. "Mr. Curran doesn't have the ability to see what's going on. I was voting against the timing."

Third District Councilman Martin O'Malley also voted against the increase but said he would accept the raise.

According to state law, the council can raise elected officials' salaries only every four years, and raises can go into effect only for the next elected council.

To take effect, the bill must be approved by the council once more and then signed by the mayor before Dec. 4, the last day of the four-year council term.

Whether the mayor would accept the $95,000 salary is unclear. This week, when some council members suggested that he be paid $100,000, he said through his spokesman, Clinton R. Coleman, that he would not take the money.

The mayor was in Chicago attending a mayors' conference and was unavailable for comment.

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