Mayor Walter E. Washington announced yesterday that he had vetoed one piece of legislation but approved a second that grants 7.05 per cent pay increases for District of Columbia Police, fire fighters and teachers.
The 11,761 affected people will not get their added money until the issue is resolved.
The seemingly contradictory actions occurred because the D.C. City Council simultaneously approved both stopgap "emergency" legislation granting the pay increases and permanent legislation in a form the mayor declared to be faulty.
The pay increases authorized by the emergency legislation already have gone into effect.
Problems encountered in the permenent legislation "can be easily remedied" by the passage of a corrected bill, the mayor said in his veto message to the Council.
Washington's actions on the two bills came at a time when the City Council's government operations committee is considering legislation to establish a municipal personnel system and salary schedule separate from that of the federal government.
The District's salary schedule for most of its employees - but not for police, firefighters and teachers - has been tied for many decades to the wages paid to federal workers. All other District workers have recieved the 7.05 per cent pay increase to the 4,234 police, 1,298 fire fighters and 6,144 teachers.
Under limited home rule, with permanent legislation required to undergo review by Congress, the Council frequently passes two parallel pieces of legislation - "emergency" bills that go into effect immediately, and similar permanent measures that become effective later. That process was followed with the pay measure, but the wording was not identical.
Paying the employees was not the problem, the mayor indicated in his message to the Council. For that reason, he said, he was approving only the emergency legislation.
However, the permanent measure "could be interpreted as establishing a continuing process for salary adjustments" in the future for District employees in line with those granted separately to federal employees, the mayor said.
The 7.05 per cent pay rise brought the starting pay for police and fire fighters from $12,890 a year to $13,799, and the maximum pay for the lowest-ranked uniformed employees from $18,562 to $19,871.