Some oppose pay hikes for mayor, council

November 11, 1996



Staff Writer

Some Hagerstown residents think the city's next mayor and City Council shouldn't get raises and some who favor the pay hikes say they should be lower than those proposed by Mayor Steven T. Sager.

Twenty-five Hagerstown residents were asked Monday for their opinions on proposed raises for the mayor and City Council members to be elected on May 20, 1997.

Sager has proposed raising the mayor's annual salary from $24,000 to between $28,000 and $30,000. He proposed raising annual salaries for the five Council members from $6,000 to between $10,000 and $12,000.


The mayor and Council will discuss the proposed increases at today's 3:30 p.m. work session at the Hagerstown Police Department.

"They deserve a raise, but not that high," said Cassie Wheadon, 30, of the South End.

Wheadon said Sager's pay hike proposal "stinks," and said officials are putting more money in their pockets so they can live better. "Everybody else is struggling to make ends meet," Wheadon said.

Hagerstown's mayor had the highest annual salary among five other communities with part-time mayors that were checked.

The mayor of Bowie, Md., makes $12,637, the mayor of Rockville, Md., makes $10,000; the mayor of Cumberland, Md., makes $7,200; the mayor of Martinsburg, W.Va., makes $6,000; and the mayor of Chambersburg, Pa., makes $4,500 a year.

The mayor of Frederick makes $59,000 a year, but he is a full-time mayor of a city without a city administrator.

Six people asked for their opinions said Hagerstown's elected officials should get raises, and seven people opposed the raises. Two said they were undecided.

Ten of those asked said the mayor and Council deserve raises, but not as high as those proposed.

"We worked our rear ends off for this money and then we have to give it to them," said Beatrice Hurd, 19, of Hayes Avenue, who said she thinks the proposed raises are too high.

"I think it stinks. I think they make too much money already," said Brenda Ritchick, 34, of the West End. Ritchick said her husband hasn't had a raise in three years and doesn't receive cost-of-living increases.

Several people said the city's politicians should only get cost-of-living increases.

"I really do believe people need raises," with prices so high, said Mildred Slusher, 72, of the West End. But, Slusher said $30,000 for a part-time mayor is too much.

Sager has said he considers himself to be a full-time mayor, working 40 to 60 hours a week for the city, even though Hagerstown has a city administrator.

"That's his problem," said Richard Rager, 35, of Cannon Avenue. "The mayor's a part-time mayor," Rager said. "I think he's making (an) adequate sum."

Michael Albin, 27, of Noland Drive, said the mayor shouldn't be paid a full-time salary because Sager has chosen to make the mayoral post a full-time job.

Edna Mulligan, 47, of Mulberry Avenue, said she opposes raises for Council members, some of whom have other jobs.

"For us to get paid twice, we have to work two jobs," Mulligan said.

Sandra Busey, 48, of Linwood Road, said city politicians should get only a small raise, such as a $2,000 increase for the mayor.

Don Pentz, 62, of Lanvale Street, said he didn't think the mayor and Council were doing a good job, but should get the raises anyway.

"Might as well give them a raise rather than throw the money away on alcoholics and thieves," Pentz said.

A few others thought the city's elected officials were more deserving of a raise.

"From what I hear he puts a lot of hours in and I'm sure he doesn't get overtime," Brenda Black, 44, of East Lee Street, said of the city's current mayor.

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