Board approves raises for Baltimore's top elected officials

Baltimore's top elected officials will continue to receive annual pay increases tied to raises for city union members, following an independent board's decision Monday morning.

Salaries for the mayor, comptroller, City Council president and other council members will increase by 2.5 percent for each of the next four years, provided at least one union group receives a raise.

Morton P. Fisher Jr., chairman of the elected officials' compensation commission and an attorney with Ballard Spahr, said the seven-member board decided to maintain the same system of raises established in 2006.

Additional raises would not have been appropriate given the economic downturn, he said. The city laid off 100 employees, reduced street cleaning and tree maintenance services, and increased taxes to close a $121 million hole in its $2.2 billion budget this year.

The commission, which was established by a ballot referendum four years ago, substantially increased salaries for 17 elected officials in 2007 and ordered the 2.5 percent increases for subsequent years.

In March, when the pay raises came before the city's spending board, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and other officials said they would donate their increases to the city.

Rawlings-Blake's salary is $155,000 for the current fiscal year; Young earns $103,000, as does City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt.

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