From Harford County Councilman Mike Perrone Jr.:
The Possibility of a Raise for the Next County Council
On October 11, at 6:15 pm in the Council Chamber, a public hearing will be held on Bill 16-023, which would raise the salaries of the 2018-2022 County Council by approximately 18% (from the current $36,750 to $43,500).
For the record, I am not in favor of this increase. For the nearly two years I have sat on the current Council, I’ve had easily several hundred conversations regarding the state of the County’s finances, and everything people wish the County had more money to spend on… from compensation for County employees to school renovations to stormwater management…and everything in between. Regardless of how insignificant this proposed increase in Council salaries may be in the grand scheme of the entire County budget, it still sends a message that contradicts our fiscal reality.
I hope to hear a lot of testimony and read a lot of e-mails in regard to this bill, but there is one point I know is going to be raised in opposition to the bill which I believe actually weakens the argument against it, and so I want to bring up the point in the interest of healthy debate.
That is the myth that County Council positions are somehow part time. Granted, by specifying that the position of County Executive is full time while making no such statement for Council Members, the County Charter does in a sense imply that Council positions are part time. But whatever the Charter may imply, that isn’t reality. I’m a pretty meticulous record keeper, and I’ve averaged 49 hours per week on Council business since this term began (which is probably lower than the average of my colleagues.)
My point is that even though Council members might work harder and put in more hours than a lot of people realize, there are plenty of other people out there who work long and hard hours too… in their careers, no less. County Council positions aren’t supposed to be careers. If our pay is inadequate, we can always step down and move on after our terms are over. That’s how the system was intended to work in the first place.