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Pugh wants to raise Baltimore fire chief's salary to $210,000 a year under new contract to keep him around longer

Mayor Catherine Pugh wants to raise Baltimore Fire Chief Niles Ford’s salary to $210,000 a year in exchange for his signing a new contract to stay on longer.

Ford earns $183,500 under his current contract, which lasts through June 2020. His new contract, if approved by the Board of Estimates, would keep him in Baltimore for another five years.

The contract is on the spending board’s agenda for Wednesday. Pugh sits on the board and controls it.

Ford took over the department in 2014 and was reconfirmed to the position by the City Council in 2017.

During his tenure, he has helped the department transition to a new schedule for personnel that saved the city millions of dollars, started a high school training program, introduced mapping technology that improved responses to fires, launched specialty teams and entered in public-private partnerships to renovate fire stations, according to the board’s agenda.

The new contract also includes a provision for Ford to receive severance pay if he is fired “without cause,” according to the agenda.

The contract follows another recently approved for new acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who will earn $275,000 his first year.

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