Prosecutor may get pay increase

February 06, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Prosecutor may get pay increase

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County lawmakers reduced a proposed pay increase for the local state's attorney Friday, but the move might end up meaning even more money for the position than originally requested.

That's because the legislation, approved by a 5-3 vote of the delegation, ties the state's attorney's salary to 90 percent of the pay of District Court judges. A raise has been proposed for the judges this year.

The original proposal calls for raising the pay for the state's attorney from $67,840 to $89,200, a 31 percent increase. Tying the raise to the judges' pay could result in the county's chief prosecutor reaching the $90,000 mark.


"I felt we could have held it off," said Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, who joined Del. D. Bruce Poole, D-Washington, and Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, in voting against the raise.

They said the delegation should have looked into the implications of a judicial pay raise further.

But Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, said he is comfortable with the raise, even if it goes as high as $90,000.

"I think it's a quality issue. We want good people (in that position)," he said.

County State's Attorney M. Kenneth Long Jr. and the County Commissioners had asked that the salary increase be tied to 100 percent of a District Court judges' salary.

Their argument was that the current position ranks 16th in the state among state's attorneys.

"Considering the duties, responsibilities, current caseload and other factors involving the state's attorney's job, I believe this is a reasonable requestion," Long wrote in a memo to the delegation.

But lawmakers backed off the proposal because they believed it was too much.

"Maybe this is a little hefty," said Sen. John W. Derr, who proposed the salary move to 90 percent of a judge's pay.

A proposal in the General Assembly would increase District Court judges' salaries to about $100,000 a year, which would take Derr's proposal for the state's attorney to $90,000.

But Poole said doing nothing and keeping the pay at 80 percent of a District Court judge's salary might have satisfied the need to pay the state's attorney more. That would have resulted in an increase to as much as $80,000 after the full judicial pay raise.

"I just think if we could give the system a little time, it would take care of itself," Poole said.

In addition to Derr and Donoghue, Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, Del. J. Anita Stup, R-Frederick/Washington, and Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, voted for the raise.

The pay raise is still subject to the approval of the full General Assembly and cannot take effect until after the next state's attorney's election this year.

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