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Mayor breaks tie, hikes pay

November 20, 1996

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

With Hagerstown's City Council deadlocked, Mayor Steven T. Sager cast the tie-breaking vote Tuesday night to approve introduction of an ordinance to increase the pay for the next mayor and City Council.

The mayor's vote broke a 2-2 tie. The ordinance to be introduced by the vote would increase the part-time mayor's annual salary from $24,000 to $28,000 and Council members' annual salaries from $6,000 to $8,000. Increases would go into effect after the May 1997 election.

The Council will vote Dec. 17 on whether to adopt the pay hike ordinance.

Council members Susan Saum-Wicklein and Lewis Metzner voted for the raises. Council members Mark Jameson and Fred Kramer voted against introducing the ordinance.

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Councilman William Breichner was absent. He said earlier he would not support raises for the mayor or Council.

Jameson and Kramer said they favored raising the salary for the mayor to be elected on May 20, 1997, but opposed raising the salaries of the next Council members.

Metzner asked Jameson or Kramer to vote for the ordinance so Sager wouldn't have to break a tie.

"I'm more than happy to break a tie," Sager responded.

After the meeting, Sager said the Council probably could have voted on raises for the mayor and Council in separate motions.

"That's the first time in eight or nine years that I've gotten to vote," Sager said. His last tie-breaking vote was cast to approve financing for computer and communications equipment for the police department, he said.

Sager, in proposing the raises earlier this month, said the move would encourage people to run for public office.

He proposed raising the mayor's salary to between $28,000 and $30,000 and raising the Council members' salaries to between $10,000 and $12,000.

The mayor's last raise, taking pay for the post from $18,000 to $24,000 a year, was in 1993. When Sager first became mayor in 1985, the annual salary was $16,500.

A 1989 raise took Council members' salaries from $4,500 a year to $6,000.

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