The paychecks of Baltimore's elected officials — including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt — are about to get bigger.

On Wednesday, the city's Board of Estimates, which includes those three officials, is set to approve pay raises for themselves and the members of the City Council.


Rawlings-Blake's salary is set to go from $167,000 to $171,000. Young and Pratt's pay is set to increase from $110,000 to $113,000.

According to a city law passed in 2007, the elected officials are entitled to a 2.5 percent raise if some city workers also get a raise in that year's budget. The raises go into effect Jan. 1.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for the mayor, said she plans to abstain from voting on her raise. He said officials are voting on the raises in public to be "fully transparent and disclose what's happening."

He said the pay increases could help attract qualified candidates to run for office in 2016.

"You certainly want to keep salaries competitive for these important elected positions to encourage top candidates to want to seek them," Libit said.

But the raises drew questions from the city's Republican Party, which is hoping to see a party member elected to the City Council next year for the first time in decades.

Kent Boles Jr., chairman of the city's Republican Central Committee, said he'd like to see raises for city officials tied to merit.

"We're not talking about minimum-wage jobs here. We're talking about people in very high positions in the government," Boles said. "In order for them to achieve a pay hike, it should be tied to strong performance. I'll leave evaluating their performance to the voters of Baltimore, but I think I know how most of the voters feel about it."

This year has been a challenging one for Baltimore, marked by widespread protests over alleged police brutality, a riot in April and the highest homicide rate in the city's modern history.

"By almost any metric you use, Baltimore hasn't had a banner year this year," said lawyer Matthew McDaniel, a Republican who is running for City Council in Baltimore's 1st District. "Raises should be based on performance. It's clearly not the end of the world, but I think it shows they're a little tone-deaf."

Annual pay for City Council Vice President Edward Reisinger is to rise from $71,000 to $73,000, while salaries for the council's other 13 members are to increase from $64,000 to $66,000.

The board also plans to authorize pay increases for Baltimore's three part-time liquor board commissioners. They will make $29,000. The liquor board typically meets about once a week.

City Council members said the raises amount to no more than cost-of-living increases.

"It's not something I asked for or had any say over," said Councilman Brandon Scott, who represents Northeast Baltimore. "I understand why people on the surface would be upset about it. More than likely, I'm going to spend it on something that will benefit young people in the community."


Councilman Bill Henry of North Baltimore noted that the law authorizing raises for elected officials has been in effect for years. City workers receive a 2 percent raise in the current budget.

"The concept is if we're in good enough shape to give city employees raises, then we're in good enough shape that the elected officials get a similar cost-of-living adjustment," he said.

Baltimore's mayor manages a more than $3 billion budget and about 14,000 employees. Rawlings-Blake was only the 41st-highest-paid city employee last year.

State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby ($238,000), Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano ($220,000), Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen ($200,000), Finance Director Henry J. Raymond ($192,000) and City Hall chief of staff Kaliope Parthemos ($178,000) all have salaries higher than the mayor's. Mosby's salary is set by the Board of Estimates, while the others are set at the mayor's or her appointees' discretion.