Raises recommended for elected officials Increases of less than 3% a year urged for executive and members of council

November 13, 1997|By Craig Timberg | Craig Timberg,SUN STAFF

A citizens' commission has recommended that members of the Howard County Council and the county executive receive raises of less than 3 percent for each of the next four years.

Under the plan recommended this week, the five part-time council members would each make $33,800 -- less than most midlevel county bureaucrats -- by the end of 2001. The executive would make $98,500 -- less than the heads of some county departments.

That would keep the salaries of Howard's elected officials in the middle of the pack in the Baltimore-Washington area.

The recommendations must be approved, but they are likely to pass with little discussion.

The council and County Executive Charles I. Ecker created the seven-member Compensation Review Commission to avoid the political discomfort of publicly debating their own salaries.

"The commission seems to have done a pretty good job of surveying the marketplace," said Council Chairman Dennis R. Schrader, a Republican. "They seem to be in line, but I'd like to hear what the citizens have to say."

A Dec. 15 public hearing is likely, with a vote coming Jan. 5.

Ecker is paid $86,375, with a raise of $2,125 due next month. He makes less than the executives in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, but more than Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary, $84,000, and Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, $65,000.

Since Ecker must leave office after his second term ends in 1998, his successor would earn $91,000 the first year, under the commission's plan. Raises of $2,500 would follow each of the next three years, to a maximum of $98,500.

By comparison, Public Works Director James M. Irvin makes $108,020, County Solicitor Barbara M. Cook makes $107,184 and Chief Administrative Officer Raquel Sanudo makes $103,001.

For council members, who are paid $29,600 and who will get a $700 raise in December, the commission recommended raises of $875 for each of the next four years. That would boost their salaries to $33,800 by December 2001.

The council chairman, who has extra duties, would continue to make $1,000 more.

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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