Pay cuts for mayor and aldermen? Not likely


A city commission has recommended drastic cuts in the salaries of Annapolis' mayor and aldermen, but the proposal is likely to be rejected when the city council considers it next month.

"The majority of the council will not support this," Ward 5 Alderman Carl O. Snowden said yesterday.

"The commission clearly overstepped its bounds," said Samuel Gilmer, the alderman from Ward 3.

The Salary Review Commission recommended in a unanimous vote Tuesday night that the mayor's pay be cut from $52,000 to $40,000 a year and council members from $8,500 to $5,000. The new salaries would go into effect in 1997, after the next city elections.

The commission, which also recommended doing away with the mayor's $4,000-a-year expense account, said in a letter to the mayor and the eight aldermen that the recommended salary cuts reflect a national mood favoring fiscal restraint in government.

"Today, we need to downsize government, reduce the cost of government and balance the budget, which we feel is uppermost in citizens' minds," the letter says. "The best way we can do this, in our views, is for the elected officials to set the example."

Mr. Snowden, chairman of the finance committee, responded, "I think it's ridiculous to think that city council members' salaries are having an impact on the $40 million city budget."

Mr. Gilmer said the recommendations are based on an outdated pay scale used when some salary commission members served on the city council.

The most controversial proposal was the cut in the mayor's salary, because several aldermen hope to run for that post in the next election, Mr. Snowden said. Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins is in his second term and is forbidden by the city charter from running for re-election.

Cutting the mayor's pay to $40,000, half what the city administrator makes, undermines the mayor's political position, Mr. Snowden said. "You might as well have a ceremonial mayor if that's the case," he said.

The commission, made up of former aldermen, is to present the pay-cut proposals to the council Feb. 13. The council can amend the suggested salaries downward, but not upward.

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