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Panel urges no raise for mayor of Annapolis

TMCNet:  Panel urges no raise for mayor of Annapolis

[January 28, 2013]

Panel urges no raise for mayor of Annapolis

Jan 28, 2013 (The Capital - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The eight Annapolis aldermen elected this November might get a modest raise while the mayor goes four years without a bump.

A six-member citizen panel is recommending the City Council increase ward representatives' pay by $900. The panel also suggests allowing the aldermen to use their $1,500 apiece for training for other expenses, such as cellphone bills, stamps and office supplies.

The recommended raise would bring aldermen's pay to $13,500 per year, up from $12,600.

"As the city has grown and become more complex, the duties and time devoted by aldermen has also increased," the commission report said.

Dale Kelberman, chairman of the Council Compensation Commission, declined to discuss the recommendations until after the report is presented to the City Council on Monday.

The commission does not support a raise for the mayor, who makes $98,000. Four years ago, a compensation commission recommended the mayor's salary be increased to $120,000. The City Council instead approved smaller staggered increases in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Because of that decision, Mayor Josh Cohen has seen his paycheck rise from $78,000 to $98,000 within a single term.

Cohen, who plans to run for re-election, said he supports the recommendation for no mayoral raise for the next four years.

"It's already in the ballpark that it needs to be to make it feasible for a wide range of people to consider serving," he said.

According to a salary database The Capital retrieved through a Maryland Public Information Act request in 2012, Cohen was the 44th highest-paid city employee out of a roster of 753 people. His pay was $93,100 last year. Though he was authorized for $98,000, Cohen took a voluntary 5 percent pay cut.

He made less money than all of the department heads and a few assistant directors. Cohen's salary is the highest in Maryland compared to similar-sized cities, according to information the commission obtained from the Maryland Municipal League.

The City Council is not required to follow the recommendations.

Alderman Ken Kirby, D-Ward 6, said he believes the council members deserve a raise.

"Anything can help," he said. "If it brings more people to the table, to supplement their incomes, than so be it." Alderman Fred Paone, R-Ward 2, said he's not sure whether he would endorse the recommendation for even a small aldermanic raise.

"My salary for being an alderman is basically a stipend for the honor of representing people in my ward," he said.

The City Charter requires the creation of a commission within a year of each city election to recommend salaries and fringe benefits for the mayor and aldermen. For the first time the commission was also charged with advising city leaders on an executive pay plan for the city manager.

The commission recommends a pay scale of $120,000 to $180,000 for the position. City Manager Michael Mallinoff is the highest-paid city employee, with a salary of $138,000.

Mallinoff was recently a candidate for a city manager position in Gaithersburg. Cohen said that's a wake-up call for the need for Annapolis to remain competitive to retain qualified employees.

"There aren't a lot of people who can come in and do the job we need," Cohen said. "It shows that Annapolis cannot be complacent and take that position for granted." ___ (c)2013 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) Visit The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) at www.hometownannapolis.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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