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Council agrees to vote on raise

August 01, 2000

Council agrees to vote on raise



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The Hagerstown City Council will vote later this month to give City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman a pay raise that he began receiving last week.

During a special meeting to discuss the matter Tuesday, council members agreed city policy is and should be that the council has to vote in open session on raises for city administrators.

The raise was put into effect by Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II after four of the five council members endorsed the $2,205 salary increase during a closed-door meeting in July.

Bruchey's actions upset Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein, who opposed the raise. She said the City Council has traditionally voted in an open council meeting on all raises for city administrators.

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Council members J. Wallace McClure and William M. Breichner also said last week that the council should vote on the raise.

A special council meeting was called for Tuesday to discuss the procedure for giving a city administrator a raise. At the meeting the council members agreed they will vote on the raise on Aug. 15, and that raises for future city administrators will be formalized with a public vote.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said implementing the raise, which is retroactive to June 1999, without an open council vote was a "mistake," but it wasn't done to try and hide anything from the public.

"We acknowledge it was a mistake. (The raise) was given prematurely. We'll take a vote and in the future take a vote. We have a policy in effect. It was breached this time by mistake," Metzner said.

Bruchey said Tuesday he signed off on the pay raise after a majority of council members stated their support for it. Bruchey said he was unaware of any policy that required the council to vote in open session on the raise, but added he would go along with the wishes of the council majority.

The pay increase pushes Zimmerman's annual salary from about $88,940 to $91,145.

Zimmerman declined to comment on the matter.

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