The Maryland Senate has passed legislation to increase the salary of the Harford County state's attorney. The measure is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.
Under the legislation, SB 475, the state's attorney's base salary of $98,500, which has been raised to $112,044 through annual adjustments based on increases in the Consumer Price Index, will increase to $125,000 from 2014 to 2016 and then to $130,000 in 2017.
The state's attorney also will still receive an annual increase based on CPI, which is not to exceed 3 percent in any given year.
If the legislation passes, the new base salary will take effect after this November's general election, on Jan. 1, 2015 when the next state's attorney's term begins.
Incumbent Harford State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly, a Republican who has held office for almost 32 years, is running for re-election to a ninth term. He is opposed by Democrat Steven Trostle, a prosecutor in Cecil County, who lives in Joppa.
State Sen. Nancy Jacobs is the sponsor of SB 475, which passed on third reading by a 46-0 vote on Feb. 26. As of Thursday morning, the bill was in the House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee.
The deputy state's attorney in Harford County, an appointed position, makes more than $10,000 more than the state's attorney at $122,090. Circuit Court judges make $140,352 annually and District Court judges earn $127,252 a year.
The Baltimore City state's attorney makes the most of any chief prosecutor in Maryland, earning $238,772 annually.
According to the legislation's fiscal note, the Harford state's attorney has not received a raise in base salary since 2005 when salary for the position increased from $90,000 to $98,500, effective Jan. 1, 2007. The salary was also to be adjusted annually on July 1 to reflect to change in the Consumer Price Index, but not to exceed 3 percent in any given year.
Jacobs said she introduced the legislation before she leaves office to ensure the Harford County state's attorney's salary is on par with salaries of chief prosecutors in other counties and those of his own top deputies. Jacobs is retiring when her term ends later this year, after serving 16 years in the Senate.
"I'm leaving office and want to make sure the state's attorney is treated fairly before I go," Jacobs said. "[Cassilly] never pushed it, but I want to make sure. It's time."
Jacobs said the thinks Cassilly has not asked for a raise in nearly a decade because he is "fiscally conservative."