The Anne Arundel County Council voted last night to raise the county executive's annual pay 21 percent and council members' 10 percent.
The pay raises will take effect on Dec. 7. The executive's pay will increase to $102,000 over four years, and council members to $33,000 on that day.
The executive's raise was approved by a vote of 5-1-1, with Democratic Councilman James "Ed" DeGrange of Glen Burnie opposing it and Republican Diane R. Evans of Arnold abstaining because she is running for county executive.
Evans and DeGrange, a candidate for state senator from northern Anne Arundel County, opposed the pay increase for the council.
"I know that the county pension board recommended this and put a lot of work into its study," DeGrange said of the executive's raise. "But I just think it is too generous, and so I am going to vote no."
Evans said of the raise for council members: "With due respect to my fellow councilmen, I think that the recommendation is a bit high."
The raises come at a time when the county has a $24 million surplus from the fiscal year that ended June 30. But some unionized county workers have complained about the raises for top county officials, including department heads, saying it isn't fair that they received less.
The average county blue-collar worker will receive a pay raise of about 5 percent next year.
During last night's public hearing, a representative of the county's police union said he hopes the county is as generous when his union's contract runs out in June next year.
Officer William Wild, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, noted that the raise for the county executive is based in part on comparisons to the larger salaries for executives in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
In the past, he said, the county resisted using these suburbs of Washington as yardsticks for setting Anne Arundel County police salaries.
County Council Chairman Bert L. Rice, a Republican from Odenton, said one reason for the raises is that officials in the legislative and executive branches are paid less than their counterparts in nearby counties.
Anne Arundel County Council members now make $30,000 a year, compared with $31,175 in Howard County and $38,300 in Baltimore County.
Republican County Executive John G. Gary earns $84,000 a year, less than 11 of his department heads.
Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan earns $108,176 a year; Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, $96,210; and Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, $90,000.