Citizens oppose salary raises
Speak against increases for council, county executive
ELKTON — Opponents, many of whom are affiliated with Cecil County Campaign for Liberty, a conservative political group whose parent organization was founded by former U. S. Rep. Rand Paul, spoke against a proposal to raise county executive and county council salaries Tuesday night.
The group also submitted a petition signed by 300 people who oppose the raise.
The two separate bills will not be considered by the county council until the Sept. 6 legislative meeting at 7 p. m. in Elkton.
Council President Robert Hodge made it clear Tuesday that the proposal to raise elected officials salaries did not originate with the elected officials.
“It’s mandated by the Cecil County Charter that the county council must appoint a salary review commission to look at current salaries and make recommendations for potential increases in sala-
ries for both county executive and county council,” he told the audience.
Any salar y change requires a majority vote by the council to become law.
The proposed salar y increase for county executive would take it from $ 98,000 to $ 100,000 annually, beginning Dec. 3, when a new county executive will take office. The commission also recommended the executive be eligible for county
group medical insurance, but not council members.
Council members salaries are proposed to go up from $ 25,000 to $ 27,000 annually, but not until Dec. 3, 2018.
Opponents argued that it’s not good timing for raises, as they will increase spending, won’t attract better candidates, are unfair and will detract from other areas of the budget that could benefit from this money.
“I don’t think a public ser vant should get a raise when most of their constituents haven’t had a raise,” said Kim Rhoades, of Elkton, who said the county’s spending is “out of control.”
Bob Willick, of Rising Sun, who spoke on behalf of Cecil County’s chapter of Maryland Campaign for Liberty, told council members Tuesday night that volunteers from his group collected 300 signatures from Rising Sun, Elkton and Perr yville residents who oppose the pay raises that are proposed.
“Not one person supported this,” Willick said, as he turned over the petition to the council manager.
“I also oppose the mentality of keeping up with the Joneses,” Willick said. “It bothers me that this county compares itself
to other counties, like Harford and Baltimore. Why not put taxpayers first?”
Ken Wiggins, a member of the commission that recommended the raises, spoke up to attempt to clarify what the commission considered for comparison.
“We only compared our county to other counties in Mar yland with similar population, budget size and employees,” he said. “We also thought it would be good to keep up with inflation. I feel it’s a rotten job that doesn’t pay ver y well and all you get is a bunch of criticism.”
Bob Meffley, who won the Republican primar y for council
from the first district and faces no competition in the general election, said he didn’t run for office for the money.
Former County Commissioner Michael Dunn sent in written testimony opposing the raises.
“This proposed pay increase for local government leaders is extremely ill- advised,” he said. “At a time when most working families are struggling and the job market and wages are stagnant, it’s unconscionable that this would even be considered. The county is also carr ying a considerable amount of debt. Surely this money can be better spent elsewhere.”