D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said this week that he hopes to have his new contract signed by the end of the month.
"The mayor's made it clear that he wants to keep me," Ramsey said in an interview, adding that he is interested in staying in Washington.
Between terrorism scares and last weekend's blizzard, Ramsey said he has not had time to think about the contract in recent weeks but hopes to have the entire process completed by the end of the month.
Ramsey disputed recent media reports that the contract might include a pay raise of about $40,000, saying that "I've not been offered anything" of that kind.
"I don't know what, if any," pay raise will be included in the contract, Ramsey said.
He said his current annual salary is $150,000.
By itself, a new contract for the chief would not require the approval of the D.C. Council. However, if the contract gives Ramsey a pay raise or a boost in benefits beyond what city regulations normally allow for his position, the council would have to give its assent, said Judiciary Committee Chairman Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3).
Patterson said she was not certain how large a package would require the council's approval. Ramsey said he wasn't certain, either. Other officials were not available to provide further details because of the snow emergency this week.
Earlier this month, the council passed emergency legislation demanding that Ramsey and Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) review the police department's system of dividing patrols into 83 police service areas. The council, which has long charged that the PSAs are understaffed, asked Ramsey and Williams to submit a report in 90 days.
Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), some of Ramsey's loudest critics on the council, sent Williams a letter last week asking that Ramsey's new contract be "held in abeyance" until the staffing report was delivered.
Fenty and Graham said in interviews that they were most concerned about reports of a possible pay raise for the chief.
"At this time, it would just be the complete opposite direction of what I'm hearing from the residents," Fenty said this week. "They want to find a way to have greater accountability" for the police, Fenty said.
Ramsey, a former top Chicago police official, came to Washington in 1998 after he was hired by a federal control board then running city affairs. A Chicago native, he began his police career 35 years ago as a Chicago police cadet.
If Ramsey remains in Washington, he could become the longest-serving D.C. police chief since Maurice T. Turner Jr., who served eight years in the 1980s.
Williams repeatedly has expressed support for Ramsey but also has said the department must do more to address an array of problems, including rising homicide totals, as well as homicide clearance rates that are lower than the average for other cities.
Although he has acknowledged residents' concerns about crime and police visibility, Williams has stood by Ramsey throughout his troubles with the council in recent months. That the chief would get a new contract was never in much doubt.
On Tuesday, Williams's spokesman, Tony Bullock, said that "the mayor has great confidence in Chief Ramsey, in his integrity and in his ability to do the job. He's expressed that many, many times."
Bullock said he was not familiar with the details of Ramsey's contract negotiation but said that any new contract would "probably" include a raise.