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Arundel parks director could get pay boost

Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman wants to give county parks director Rick Anthony a 37.3 percent pay raise.

Andrea Fulton, the county's personnel director, told the County Council on Tuesday that boosting Anthony's salary from $88,121 to $121,000 would bring his pay in line with that of other department directors in the county.

Other department directors make between $110,000 and $160,000.

"It's a one-time adjustment to adjust a salary to a department head that is way below what other department heads are making," Fulton said.

The council has scheduled a hearing on a bill to increase Anthony's compensation for Monday. A vote could follow that night.

Neuman said Anthony approached her about his pay after she took office in February.

"I was surprised to hear what his salary was," Neuman said.

She said she offered to give him a raise of 10 percent — the maximum she could give him in one year without council approval — or to work on a bill to raise his salary further. He chose to go with the bill, Neuman said.

Anthony declined to comment on Wednesday. He is a holdover from the administration of County Executive John R. Leopold, who resigned this year after he was found guilty of criminal misconduct in office.

Anthony has led the Department of Recreation and Parks since Sept. 1, 2010. He is the county's only black department head.

Before being appointed parks director, he worked in the county executive's office as a pre-trial investigator and house arrest coordinator. He owned a company called ArborQuest until September, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Neuman said she learned that Anthony's pay was lower because he lacked a college degree and transferred to the parks department from constituent services in the county executive's office — a nontraditional path for a department head.

But Neuman said department directors should be paid in the same range.

"I'm a big believer in fairness," she said. "He's been doing the job and doing it well."

Neuman said she did not compare Anthony's salary to those of parks directors in surrounding jurisdictions.

"I was only focused on making sure we are fair within Anne Arundel County government," she said.

Howard County's director of recreation and parks, John Byrd, makes $127,857, county spokesman David Nitkin said.

Baltimore County's director of recreation and parks, Barry Williams makes $140,000, county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said.

The Anne Arundel bill, which doesn't mention Anthony by name but was written so it only affects him, generated little debate among County Council members during their work session Tuesday.

No one objected to the raise.

Councilman Derek Fink, a Pasadena Republican, said he wanted to make sure that the bill is written so it can only be used to help Anthony — and not for giving large raises to other high-ranking county employees.

"It's a one-time deal," County Attorney David Plymyer told him.

The County Council scheduled a public hearing on the bill for 7 p.m. Monday at the Arundel Center, 44 Calvert St. in Annapolis.

Baltimore Sun reporter Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.

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