Top Glendening aides receiving pay raises of up to 15.1 percent Decision by state panel exceeds guidelines from legislature of 6% increase

December 17, 1998|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

The state Board of Public Works voted 2-1 to approve pay raises for Gov. Parris N. Glendening's senior staff members yesterday, with Maryland Treasurer Richard N. Dixon casting the dissenting vote.

Dixon noted that the increases are as high as 15.1 percent, which exceeds General Assembly guidelines that limit such increases to 6 percent. He said they also are well above raises granted other state employees, which averaged 3.5 percent this year.

Those in line for the raises, which the governor's office says go into effect immediately, include 10 of Glendening's senior staff members and two top aides to Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Eight of the 12 are getting raises of more than 6 percent.

The eight include Glendening's chief of staff, Major F. Riddick Jr., whose pay rises from $129,046 to $139,000, a 7.7 percent increase. His salary exceeds the governor's, which is $120,000.

The largest percentage increase, 15.1 percent, went to Andrea Leahy-Fucheck, the governor's legal counsel. Her salary rises from $79,303 to $91,283.

Glendening proposed awarding the raises under a provision in state law that allows the board to approve increases "for the purpose of retention or recruitment of competent individuals." His press secretary said the increases are based mostly on increased responsibility.

The pay raises got only brief discussion by the Board of Public Works yesterday. Townsend and Comptroller Robert L. Swann voted to approve the raises. Townsend was sitting in for Glendening, who was attending the funeral of Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles.

In other matters, Dixon said he has dropped his push for a larger plaque at the Ravens stadium to commemorate the role he and other Board of Public Works members played in getting the stadium built.

Dixon had previously complained that the current bronze plaque listing his name, along with that of Glendening and Louis L. Goldstein, the longtime state comptroller who died in July, was too small and hard to find.

He had pushed Bruce H. Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, to order a larger plaque at a cost that was estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. An article in The Sun about Dixon's effort prompted some criticism.

Dixon said he placed another call to Hoffman yesterday morning.

"I asked Mr. Hoffman to cancel the order for the plaque that has caused so much controversy," Dixon said, complaining that his earlier remarks about wanting a bigger plaque "were not interpreted properly by the press."

Dixon, who is black, said achievements of African-Americans, such as the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II, often go unrecognized. He said it was important that young people know that a black man serving on the state's powerful Board of Public Works played a role in getting the Ravens stadium built.

Pub Date: 12/17/98

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