ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - Payday for Montgomery County Councilmembers will soon be a lot sweeter. The Council voted 8 to 1 Tuesday to approve raises, spiking Councilmember salaries by more than $30,000 over the next four years.
The raises are incremental, but by December 2017, taxpayers will be shelling out an extra $300,000 each year to the nine-member Council and county executive.
"I support a pay increase, but not that much," says Phil Andrews, (D) Montgomery County Council.
Andrews issued the lone vote against a proposal to spike the Montgomery County Council's salary of $104,000 to $136,000, a 25-percent bump in pay.
The longtime Gaithersburg resident says Tuesday's vote creates a monstrous precedent when the county negotiates with its fire and police unions.
"If I'm a union leader I'm going to say 'You just gave yourself a 25.5 percent pay raise over the next four years and you're not going to approve a single increase for us. What are you thinking?'" he says.
The General County Employee Union says its 7,500 members just emerged from a four-year pay freeze.
"The tone and nature of the emails I've received, I can tell you they're outraged."
Council Vice President Craig Rice voted for the raise, seeing it as a way to generate better talent.
"We're not seeing a lot of people going into politics because they don't see it as a career in which they can sustain a family," Rice says.
The Montgomery County Council is a full-time position. Pay raise advocates contend that justifies Councilmember salaries far outweighing Fairfax and Prince George's counties, where they say the job isn't as intensive.
Also part of Tuesday's vote was the county executive's salary, which will sit at $190,000 by next December, a 3 percent raise.