The Annapolis City Council approved a pay increase for future members by a narrow 5-4 margin.
Under the proposal, the next council seated following city elections in November will receive about a $4,600 increase over the next four-year term. It was approved without discussion at the Monday meeting.
The pay increases won’t go into effect until the first Monday in December, about a month after the city general election is held on Nov. 2. All eight council seats and the mayor’s office are up for reelection.
Earlier this year, an independent group of city residents called the Council Compensation Commission was formed to study the council pay and that of the mayor and city manager.
Council members currently earn $15,000 a year. The committee recommended council salaries rise to $19,653 by 2025 — about a $1,200 increase annually. The commission also recommended increasing the annual stipend for education, training and supporting constituent engagement activities from $1,500 to $2,000.
“When you commit to being a good alderperson, it’s 24/7. The very least we can do is compensate ourselves,” said Alderman DaJuan Gay, D-Ward 6, the bill’s sponsor.
Gay was joined by Alderwomen Elly Tierney, D-Ward 1, Sheila Finlayson, D-Ward 4, and Aldermen Rob Savidge, D-Ward 7 and Ross Arnett, D-Ward 8, in approving the measure.
Gay, the youngest council member who said he currently works two part-time jobs in addition to his aldermanic duties, has been the most vocal in supporting a pay increase for future council members.
Higher pay could attract a younger, more diverse pool of council candidates who otherwise might not run for office, he said.
Mayor Gavin Buckley, Aldermen Fred Paone, R-Ward 2, and Brooks Schandelmeier, D-Ward 5, and Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell-Charles, all voted against the proposal.
Multiple council members said they felt better about voting for the pay increase now that it’s certain the city won’t lay off any workers to help balance the fiscal 2022 budget.
“I don’t have any qualms about granting this modest increase,” Savidge. “We don’t get paid much considering the time we put into this job, and compared to other jurisdictions, we were on the low side.”
The mayor’s salary will stay at $98,000 under the approved proposal. The city manager’s base salary range and step increases will remain unchanged. City Manager David Jarrell currently makes $180,000 a year.