Baltimore’s Board of Estimates is scheduled to consider Richard Worley’s new employment agreement Wednesday, a document that says he’d be owed a year’s salary worth of severance if city legislators don’t confirm him as the next police commissioner the following day.
An agenda for the spending board’s meeting next week prices the contract at $285,000 — the proposed salary for Mayor Brandon Scott’s pick to lead the Baltimore Police Department, according to a copy of the employment agreement provided The Baltimore Sun by the mayor’s office.
The provision that would guarantee Worley a year’s salary in severance if the City Council rejects him is nearly identical to one Scott opposed as a councilman when the last commissioner’s agreement was released in 2019.
After now-former Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison’s agreement came to the spending board in 2019, then-Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office released a public version that showed he would get a year’s salary if not confirmed by the City Council. At the time, the councilman chairing the public safety committee — Scott — described the promise to pay Harrison a year’s salary as a “lottery jackpot” setting a “dangerous precedent that corrupts the confirmation process.”
In a statement on Thursday, the mayor’s office said the contract “follows points of precedent that have now been set in previous commissioners’ contracts.”
“While the mayor has the utmost confidence in Acting Commissioner Worley’s confirmation, he would be extended the offer to stay on with the Baltimore City Police Department if the council chose not to listen to the countless business, religious and community leaders supporting him,” the office said.
If the spending board approves a $285,000 salary for Worley, his yearly earnings would be about $2,500 less than Harrison was making when — and after — he stepped back from his duties in June. The starting salary would be $10,000 more than what the board approved for Harrison’s agreement when he was nominated by Pugh in 2019. Both police executives’ agreements contain clauses granting them a minimum 3% raise each year, with additional incentives possible for fulfilling crime reduction objectives and other performance measures.
Worley’s and Harrison’s employment contracts also contain language providing them with expenses to relocate to Baltimore — though a separate clause would grant Worley, who lives in Anne Arundel County and has promised to move to the city, a third of the housing allowance offered to Harrison, who is from Louisiana.
Worley’s employment agreement spans from June 8, the day Scott named him acting police commissioner while simultaneously announcing that Harrison would be stepping down from his role, to June 7, 2026.
The three-year contract is shorter than Harrison’s, which was five years long. Both of their contracts grant severance pay for their remaining contract period if they were terminated without “just cause.”