Readers Speak Out On


City Leaders' Pay Raises

December 12, 2008

What a cynical act: Our mayor, City Council president and comptroller voted a pay raise for themselves and the members of the City Council at a Nov. 26 Board of Estimates meeting and called their action "noncontroversial" ("City officials quietly OK raises for one another," Dec. 10).

The article noted that there was little discussion of this action at the board meeting.

This is hard to understand in the current economic climate of plant closings, layoffs, employee furloughs without pay and bankruptcies affecting major Baltimore institutions.

Kudos to those officials who refuse to accept the pay raise.

Millie Tyssowski, Baltimore

I was disgusted, although not surprised, to learn that Mayor Sheila Dixon had "quietly" gotten herself a raise. At a time when jobs and funding for much-needed programs in the city are being cut and police overtime is being slashed, it is poor judgment to take a pay raise.

Karen Benckini, Sparks

Mayor Sheila Dixon just doesn't get it: There is no way she can defend her raise or compare it to those received by police, firefighters and other city workers ("Mayor defends pay increases," Dec. 11).

How obvious is the difference between her salary of $150,000 a year and a salary of maybe $55,000 for a police officer or a firefighter?

The same applies to our City Council president and our city comptroller, who will both be making more than $100,000 a year.

I'm not saying their jobs aren't difficult. But whose isn't? In these times, a salary of more than $100,000 is more than adequate, even with a daughter in college. Meanwhile, those making half that are scouring their budgets looking for places to save a little money.

Aimee Darrow, Baltimore

There is simply no possible way for the City Council to justify 2.5 percent pay raises in this time of doom and gloom.

And I had to laugh when Mayor Sheila Dixon said she was "trying to raise a family, a daughter in college." It was laughable because she was earning $148,000 a year before the raise.

I've got news for Ms. Dixon: I have friends in the city raising four children on less than $28,000 a year; I also have a relative who raises her two grandchildren on $15,000 a year.

Yes, they struggle, but they don't complain.

And the question I was asked by my friends is: "Why do politicians always think they are better than the people they are supposed to serve?"

Ken J. Bower, Edgewood

Mayor Sheila Dixon's actions show that as the CEO of Baltimore, she has learned well from other CEOs around the country.

Apparently it doesn't matter how well the company or city is doing financially as long as there's enough available to give upper-level management a salary boost.

For the mayor to attempt to justify the raise by talking about how hard she works and the fact that she is putting a child through college only adds insult to injury.

How is she more deserving than the many people who have faced pay cuts or lost their jobs during this economic downturn?

The mayor should be ashamed of herself.

Brigitte Jacobson, Baltimore

Why am I not surprised that Mayor Sheila Dixon said she wasn't returning her raise?

This is the same woman has taken free trips and a fur coat from a businessman under investigation for improprieties in city contracts.

It seems every time something negative comes up about the mayor (who I will not be voting for next time), it's connected to money. Election time can't come around quickly enough for me.

J.B. Hanson, Baltimore

This is what we get when voters continue to vote for political insiders who belong to a party that has had a stranglehold on this city and state's politics for decades - it's the corruption of one-party rule.

For these officials to approve each other's pay raises is an outrage and an affront to the people of Baltimore, who live in a city riddled by systemic poverty and joblessness, a failed war on drugs and a police force that cannot do its job because the city can't afford enough overtime pay.

Maria Allwine, Baltimore

The writer is a co-chairwoman of the Maryland Green Party.

Editor's note: Mayor Sheila Dixon announced yesterday that she will donate her raise to charity.

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