The salary for Montgomery County’s next County Council members could be 20 percent more than it is now, under a proposal expected to be presented to the council on Tuesday. The county executive’s pay could rise about 5 percent.
Some of those increases are recommended by a committee that’s required to study local salaries every four years.
But some of the additional money already is guaranteed, through cost-of-living increases for the council and executive already set to take effect in December, unrelated to the salary study.
The study commission also recommended that raises in the county’s sheriff and state’s attorney salaries match a consumer price index.
The report of the Committee to Study the Compensation of the County Executive, County Council, Sheriff and State’s Attorney is solicited by the council every four years. The current recommendations would apply to the new council that will be seated following the 2014 election.
The changes wouldn’t go into effect until Dec. 1, 2014, and will not apply to the current council and executive, who are legally prohibited from giving themselves a raise.
Under the proposal, the county executive’s salary would increase from $180,250 to $190,000 per year, while the council’s pay would rise from $104,022 per year to $125,000.
Some of that bump would come through the guaranteed cost-of-living increases taking effect at the end of this year.
Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring currently receives an additional 10 percent as council president, with a salary of $114,425. The proposal would keep that additional 10 percent for the next president.
The committee is scheduled to present its findings to the council on Tuesday, Neil Greenberger, the council’s legislative information officer, said Thursday.
The council can accept the recommendations as they are, lower them, or reject them.
The council will hold a public hearing at a date to be determined, Greenberger said.
No timetable has been set for deciding on the recommendations, although it will be finished this fall so possible candidates can have as much information as possible when deciding whether to run, he said.
The filing deadline for council is in February, with the primary in June.
Councilman George Leventhal (D-At Large) of Takoma Park said he is listening and getting feedback from constituents, and hadn’t taken a position on whether he would support a raise for council members.
“My constituents are not shy about expressing their opinion,” Leventhal said.
At a meeting Wednesday night with residents in Damascus, Council Vice President Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown also was noncommital on the issue.
Responding to a comment from Damascus resident Sue Payne, Rice said the council will hold hearings and consider the issue.
After the meeting, Payne said she didn’t think the council should get such a big increase when many people in the county are just getting by financially, coping with high county taxes and fees.
The council already is scheduled to get more money, but hasn’t done enough to root out waste in county finances, Payne said.
Council members and County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) are scheduled to receive a previously approved 2.28-percent cost-of-living increase on Dec. 2.
Under the compensation committee’s recommendation, the executive and council’s salaries would increase each year by the same percentage as any increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers for the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area for the 12 months leading up to each Sept. 1. The CPI won’t be calculated until the end of this month.
The county’s sheriff currently receives $154,000 a year and will get a 2.1 percent cost-of-living increase on Dec. 2. The committee report suggests tying any raise in the sheriff’s salary to the consumer price index, too.
The same recommendation on the CPI was made for the state’s attorney, whose $199,000 salary will get a cost-of-living increase in January 2014.
Gino Renne, president of the county’s general employee union, the United Food and Commercial Workers/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization Local 1994, said that as a labor leader, he supports the principle of workers receiving competitive pay increases.
The union’s current agreement with the county will pay eligible workers a 3.5 percent step increase, a 3 percent longevity increase and a 3.25 percent cost-of-living increase in each of the next two years.
But Renne said he thinks officials’ compensation should be set the same way as many government employees, with a classification process. It should factor in elements such as supervisory roles, the complexity of a job and amount of independence to establish grade levels for determining a worker’s salary, he said.
The difference in the process of how council members receive raises compared to union members will continue to be a bone of contention, Renne said.
“That, in my opinion, is a double standard that my members resent,” he said.