Middletown to explore raising officials’ pay -- Gazette.Net



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After almost two decades, Middletown officials will explore the possibility of raising the pay for the town’s burgess and five commissioners for their time and service.

Town staff members will study what other municipalities in Frederick County pay their officials, and a decision will be made later whether the board of commissioners will vote on the issue.

Burgess John Miller said he currently receives $500 per month for his services, while the town’s commissioners receive $200 per month.

The amounts haven’t been increased since 1996, Miller said.

Officials are also eligible to submit expenses such as mileage, but Town Manager Drew Bowen said he can’t remember anyone doing so in his two decades with the town.

Since state law doesn’t allow officials to get a raise in their stipends until after they stand for re-election, any change would only affect the seats held by commissioners Jennifer Falcinelli, Larry Bussard and Rick Detrick, who are all up for re-election in 2014.

Commissioner Anthony Ventre, who was re-elected in 2012, and Commissioner Chris Goodman, who was elected to his first term, would not be eligible for the increase unless re-elected at the end of their current four-year terms.

However, the town could make any increase effective at a later date, and make whoever holds the seats at that time eligible for the increase.

Falcinelli said she thought it could be worthwhile to look at what other towns pay their officials.

Bussard agreed, but said he doesn’t think anyone on the board is motivated to serve based on the amount of money they make.

David Dunn, the Frederick County Board of Commissioners’ liaison to the county’s 12 municipalities and the former Brunswick city manager, said at the meeting that Brunswick’s mayor makes $900 per month, while its council members each make $300 per month.

Miller said he realized it’s a sensitive topic because no official wants to say he or she deserves more money.

But their duties have increased since the last time the stipends were increased, he said.

The town used to hold one council meeting per month and one workshop. Now, officials attend two meetings per month and a monthly workshop, as well as meetings of various committees and boards that are part of their official capacities, he said.

Bowen estimated officials generally spend 15-20 hours per month on town work, although the amount varies.

rmarshall@gazette.net