ANNAPOLIS, JAN. 16 -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer will find a little something extra in his pay envelope after being sworn in for a second term today: $35,000 more a year.
The increase in the governor's salary, from $85,000 to $120,000, was the first in four years. But the timing is viewed as particularly bad by some rank-and-file state employees, whom Schaefer is asking to work more hours this year without the chance of an annual pay raise.
"It's a flat slap in the face, and it's hard for a lot of people to take," said Archer Blackwell, associate director of Council 92 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 10,000 state workers.
Schaefer is not alone in getting a pay raise along with a new term in office. On the recommendation of special commissions, the General Assembly last year approved raises to $100,000 for the lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller and treasurer and to $70,000 for the secretary of state. The 188 legislators got a raise from $25,000 to $27,000 this year, increasing to $28,000 in 1994.
The nine-member Governor's Salary Commission, appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, initially suggested that the governor's pay be raised in 1991 to $135,000. That would have been the highest compensation for any state chief executive. In negotiations with lawmakers, however, Schaefer agreed to a lower pay raise and an increase in the governor's pension from one-third to one-half his salary after two terms. Because he was reelected last fall, the 69-year-old Schaefer can collect the enhanced retirement benefit.
Schaefer has remained highly sensitive about the pay raise, especially through the fall as he cut deeply into state spending programs to balance the budget. State Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein was quickly silenced late last year after he suggested that top state officers might delay or forgo the pay raises.
The subject arose again last month as the governor was considering up to 1,800 layoffs to close the budget gap. Asked at a news conference about his pay raise, Schaefer responded with a terse question for the reporter: "Did you get a pay raise last year?"
Last week Schaefer signed an executive order requiring about 40,000 state workers to put in 40 hours a week, saying that the action would increase productivity and reduce overtime cost. The order affected about two-thirds of the work force -- excluding the University of Maryland system -- that in the past has worked 35.5 hours a week.
Although Schaefer's budget for the year beginning in July has not been submitted to the legislature, aides said it would not include either automatic adjustments nor annual cost-of-living raises for workers. The state also plans to decrease its contribution to employee health insurance premiums.
The combination has left a distinctly bad taste in the mouths of some state workers, who plan a protest rally Friday at the main state office building in Baltimore and Monday night outside the State House here.
"There's something grossly unfair," the union's Blackwell said.