After taking a beating from a handful of critical constituents, members of the Anne Arundel County Council voted Tuesday night not to give a pay raise to the next set of councilmen.
The measure to gradually increase the annual salary for the part-time, elected position from $36,000 to $40,518 failed on a 2-5 vote. The votes in favor came from Councilmen Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat who sponsored the bill, and Dick Ladd, a Broadneck Republican. Neither will return to the council after the election, after Ladd lost his primary and Benoit hit term limits.
Glen Burnie resident Ron Wayne said that if councilmen or candidates need more money, they shouldn't be running for office.
"Your job is to serve the public," he said.
Wayne's wife, Ann Wayne, was more direct: "Get a life. Put your big boy pants on and grow up," she told members of the council.
Benoit had argued that the council raises were worthy of consideration because they cut their own perks — including a car allowance and subsidized health insurance — during the recession several years ago.
While the councilmen aren't getting any more money, a raise for the next county executive is still alive.
Benoit proposed gradually increasing the executive's pay over four years from $135,000 to $165,000, but the council agreed to a change proposed by Ladd to top out the executive's salary at $142,000 instead. Because of the change, the council will hold another public hearing on the measure at the next meeting on Sept. 15.
Benoit said the current county executive's salary is "wholly inadequate for the level of responsibility" of the job. The county executive oversees a $1 billion annual budget and thousands of county employees and contractors.
Brooklyn Park resident Donna Delimater wasn't sold. She disagreed with the county executive getting a raise when many schoolchildren still have to deal with portable classrooms.
"I'm astounded that this would be introduced," she said.
County Executive Laura Neuman's lobbyist, Don Murphy, said the administration didn't have an official stance on the bill. Both county executive candidates — Democrat George F. Johnson IV and Republican Steve Schuh — have said they oppose a salary increase for the county executive's position.
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