The Montgomery County Council will not convene a citizens’ compensation committee this year to review members’ salaries, marking the the first time since 1993 the council hasn’t conducted the review during a four-year period.
In the past, the council has appointed the committee to review members’ salaries before a new council is elected, which will happen next in 2018. The committee also evaluates the salaries of other elected officials including the county executive, sheriff and state’s attorney. The council then approves legislation to set the salaries partially based on the information provided by the committee.
Council members decided not to convene the committee this year during an informal process in the fall, according to council administrator Steve Farber.
Council member Nancy Floreen, who was council president at the time, said last week the members were comfortable with the salary increases approved in 2013.
“We went through a big hike a couple years ago,” Floreen said. “I think the collective wisdom—we didn’t have a meeting on this, we just circulated a memo—and I think the reaction was universally no because I think the point of compensation we reached ourselves was perfectly adequate to achieve its end, which is to make it possible for people to do this and give it the time it deserves.”
In 2013, the seven person compensation committee recommended the council raise its members’ salaries from $106,394 to $125,000 and make future annual increases tied to the consumer price index. After receiving the recommendation, the council voted that year to raise its salaries by 28 percent over a four-year period, rather than all at once, which by December will bring their annual pay to $136,258 per member.
The County Council president receives a 10 percent higher salary than other members.
The council members’ pay is similar to Washington, D.C., where City Council members are paid $134,852 per year. Prince George’s council members receive about $115,000 per year while members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors are paid $95,000 per year.
The decision by the Montgomery County Council not to review salaries comes as two members—George Leventhal and Marc Elrich—are pursuing bids for county executive and council President Roger Berliner is considering a run in the 2018 race.
Floreen, Leventhal, Elrich and Berliner will be forced off the council in 2018 due to voter-approved term limits, meaning they wouldn’t have personally benefited from a raise in salary even if they had approved one.