The Montgomery County Council this week tentatively approved substantial salary increases for its members, the county executive and the county state's attorney. The raises, approved by a vote of six to one, would be effective for the term of office beginning in December.
Council members will take final action on the salaries next month.
Under the plan, council members' annual pay will increase from $20,850 to $26,000, and the council president's salary, which is now $23,500 per year, would be set at $2,500 more than council member's salaries. The executive's salary, now $45,174 annually, would rise to $50,000, and the state's attorney's pay, currently $38,850, would jump to $47,500.
Each official also would receive yearly cost-of-living increases equal to 75 percent of the rise in the consumer price index published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, all the officials except the state's attorney get that cost-of-living increase.
The salary decisions closely follow the recommendations of a citizens' task force studying the salaries, although the group recommended a higher salary for the council president task force had recommended the council president earn 15 to 20 percent above members.
Council members pointed out in earlier discussions that although the county charter specifies that a council job is not full-time, the work required of a member has in fact made it a full-time job.
"I'm always reluctant to raise salaries," said Council President Elizabeth Scull. "A lot of people are paying that through their taxes, and they don't make that much themselves. They don't understand it, and they resent it."
Scull agreed, however, that the council members would have to con-than that approved by the council. The tinue to work the long hours they presently do.
"People want a responsive local government and being responsive means being available," she said.
Only Council Member Jane Ann Moore voted against the increases.
"When the county employes come to us May 15 (the day the budget is to be finally approved), we will say we gave ourselves a 33 percent increase, but we're not going to be as generous with them," she said.
When asked if council members work harder, she replied, "Are we asking for overtime? I don't think we should be."