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by Mark Reutter5:51 pmDec 20, 20160

Pay boosts coming for Baltimore’s elected officials

2.5% raises are in store for the mayor and Council members

Above: Council President Jack Young and Mayor Catherine Pugh confer before Pugh’s first Board of Estimates meeting two weeks ago. (Mark Reutter)

Come January 1, Mayor Catherine Pugh and other top officials will receive 2.5% pay increases.

The Board of Estimates, which includes the mayor, council president and comptroller, is set to approve the salary increases for themselves and members of the City Council tomorrow.

Mayor Pugh’s salary is poised to go from $171,635 to $175,926, according to the agenda released for Wednesday’s meeting.

That’s a nice boost above the $60,000 Pugh was earning as majority leader of the Maryland Senate, a post she gave up when she became mayor on December 6.

Incumbent City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Comptroller Joan Pratt will each see their 2017 paychecks rise to $116,490 from $113,649 this year.

Even if Pugh follows past practice and abstains from voting on the salary increases, her two appointed members on the board – Public Works Director Rudolph Chow and Interim City Solicitor David Ralph – will assure the pay boost.

A month ago, those two officials received an 11% pay hike, courtesy of the spending board, which elevated their annual salaries to $188,000 each.

Tomorrow’s action will also elevate the annual pay of 13 members of the City Council, which is considered a part-time job, to $67,756 from $66,103 currently. A 14th member, Sharon Green Middleton, will see her yearly pay rise to $74,888 as vice president of the Council.

Under 2007 legislation approved by the City Council, elected officials are entitled to a 2.5% raise if members of at least one municipal union also receives a raise in the same budget year. Most of Baltimore’s unionized workers got a 2% cost-of-living increase in fiscal 2017.

Top Salaries

State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby earns the fattest paycheck in city government ($238,000), followed by Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano ($220,000) who, Mayor Pugh announced today, would resign on January 6.

Other top earners include Health Commissioner Leana Wen ($204,000), Police Commissioner Kevin F. Davis ($200,000), Finance Director Henry J. Raymond ($196,400), Baltimore Development Corp. President William H. Cole ($190,000 as of fiscal 2015), and Fire Chief Niles R. Ford ($183,500).

Three of Mayor Pugh’s top aides are also near the top of the list.

Newly-anointed chief of staff, Tisha Edward, will earn $190,000 a year, while chief of operations, Peter Hammen, and chief of strategic alliances, James T. Smith Jr., will each get $175,000.

Hammen and Smith replaced three deputy mayors under former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. A fourth deputy mayor, Andrew Smullian, has been replaced by incoming Karen Stokes, who will be paid $137,000 as director of government relations.

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