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Delegation seeks raise for sheriff

February 01, 2001

Delegation seeks raise for sheriff



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


ANNAPOLIS - The next Washington County sheriff will get $67,500 a year if a proposed pay hike passes the Maryland General Assembly.

The Washington County delegation to the legislature voted unanimously Wednesday to seek the pay hike this year rather than wait a year for the issue to be studied by a citizen committee.

Lawmakers feared that if they waited and next year's bill didn't pass, the sheriff's salary would be stuck at $55,000 until 2007.

If approved, the pay hike will go into effect in January 2003, after the election.

The delegation rejected the sheriff's request for annual cost-of-living increases of 3 percent.

The sheriff, who manages a staff of 199 and a $10 million budget, declined to comment.

The Washington County Commissioners said the salary increase, which will come out of their budget, is fine.

"I suppose it's like a coach deciding to punt on third down. They did it and I'm satisfied," said Commissioner Paul Swartz.

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Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, wanted to set the sheriff's salary at $80,000, the same amount the Frederick County delegation is seeking for its county sheriff.

His suggestion was met by snickers from other members of the local delegation, even those who live in Frederick County.

"Merry Christmas," joked Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington.

"John's just doling out raises today," said Del. Joseph R. Bartlett, R-Frederick/Washington.

On another pay raise, lawmakers are taking a second look.

Last week they voted to increase Washington County Election Board salaries to $5,300 for the president and $5,000 for members.

Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, later found out that the increase more than doubled the salaries, which are now $2,300 for members and $2,600 for the president.

The new salary also would be higher than that of Washington County Board of Education members, who make $4,800 a year.

The delegation will take up the issue next week, after they find out what election board officials across the state make.

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