Judges may get pay raise

January 31, 2002

Judges may get pay raise



Circuit and District Court judges across Maryland, including those in Washington County, would get a 7 percent raise next year under a proposal before the Maryland General Assembly.

Judges statewide would get a 2 percent cost-of-living raise next year under Gov. Parris Glendening's proposed budget.

On top of that, the Judicial Compensation Commission is recommending that judges get 5 percent raises. That raise will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2003, unless the legislature acts before March 7.

Commission Chairman Laurence Levitan told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Wednesday that the pay raises are needed in order to attract more private practice attorneys to the bench.


The commission also wants to make sure that high-quality applicants continue to apply for the job.

"We want to continue to keep the judges comparable to our sister states by fairly compensating them for their expertise," Levitan said.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, who is on the Budget and Taxation Committee, said he probably will support the pay increase for judges.

"I honestly do think that we are losing good qualified people for judges because they can make a lot more in private practice," he said.

One Western Maryland judge Munson declined to name makes less than his daughter who graduated from law school two years ago and works for a private practice in Washington, D.C., he said.

Under the proposal, Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long would get a raise since his salary is set by law at 90 percent of a District Court judge's. Long's salary would increase from $100,350 to $107,550.

In addition to reviewing the judges' salary increase proposal, Munson's committee took testimony on a bill to phase in a 25 percent salary increase for the next governor and lieutenant governor.

Glendening makes $120,000 and his successor would make $150,000 by the last year of the next four-year term.

The lieutenant governor's job, which now pays $100,000, would pay $125,000 by 2007.

Munson said he wants to take a closer look at that salary increase before making up his mind.

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