Elected county officials may see pay hike
$2K increases recommended for council, exec.
— Future county council members and county executives may be getting a $2,000 raise when their new terms begin.
A compensation review committee, appointed by the current county council earlier this year to review compensation and make recommendations, as required by the Cecil County Charter, recommended those increases last week.
When charter government began nearly four years ago, the county executive’s annual salary was set at $98,000 a year, while council members’ salaries were set at $25,000. Proposed increases would bring those salaries to $100,000 and $27,000 respectively. The committee also recommends an additional $5,000 a year for the county council president and allowance for all council members to seek reimbursement for attendance at other meetings in addition to the Maryland Association of Counties.
The proposed salaries are the second lowest compared
to what other charter counties pay their top elected officials, according to a report by the Maryland Association of Counties.
Wicomico County, which has a similar population to Cecil County, pays its executive $85,000 a year, while nearby Harford County, which has about two-anda-half times the population of Cecil, pays its executive about $105,000 annually. Meanwhile, Wicomico pays its council members $16,000 annually, while Harford
pays its about $36,000, with both offering about $2,000 and $3,000 extra to council presidents respectively.
The Cecil County Sheriff’s salary was legislated to go up each year until 2019 when it would reach $82,075. However, a law passed this year in the General Assembly will increase the sheriff’s salary to $100,000 a year starting in December 2017. Therefore, the committee is recommending no change to the sheriff’s salary.
The county council still has to review the recommendations and consider them for approval before they are enacted.
“Staggered terms of the council make it more challenging to implement,” Councilwoman Joyce Bowlsbey noted.
Kennard Wiggins, chairman of the compensation review committee, told the council that his committee looked at salaries in the context of attracting qualified candidates, the local economy, household income and increases to the cost of living.
“Our goal was to provide a fair compensation without incentivizing a career track,” he added.
The committee compared Cecil County’s size, budget and number of employees
with other counties, while also considering the scope of duties of the positions.
The committee is recommending that the county executive be able to participate in the county’s health insurance and the retirement plan at the same level as county employees. They recommend council may also participate in the retirement plan, but not the insurance plan since they are deemed part-time positions.
The Compensation Review Committee members include Wiggins, Robert Amato, Bruce England, Frank Williams III and Jay Williams.
Erin Belote, from Rising Sun, sends her condolences to the Orlando community through a poster.