Montgomery County Council sees possible pay raise

Photo: The Associated Press

BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) - “It's a lot of money in one gulp, so to speak,” says Bethesda resident Jack Budman.{ }

Budman is reacting to a suggested $20,000 pay raise for the Montgomery County Council.{ }

“That’s a significant increase, frankly,” he says.{ }

Critsina Echavarren doesn’t dispute it.{ }

“It's time to make a change because it's fair,” Echavarren says.{ }

Echavarren chairs a Council-appointed committee comprising seven citizens recommending a significant pay increase for the County Council. Echavarren says compared with similar areas the Council pay is too low, adding that social media and tech-savvy citizens means lawmakers are on call 24/7.{ }

“The salary that they current make is very low compared to what they really should be earning,” she says.{ }

According to the committee’s report, the Montgomery County Council members make the second highest salary in the area at about $104,000 -$106,000 once a 2.2 percent raise is factored in later this year. The committee recommends boosting annual salaries to $125,000 per year with a yearly cost of living increase.{ }

“Their pay raise has been neglected for a long time and at some point you have to catch up,” she says.

But Budman worries the pay raise is too much, too fast.{ }

“They could ease on up the road over a couple of years, maybe as much as three years,” Budman says. “That's a big increase.”{ }

The committee also recommends raising the County Executive pay from $180,250 per year to $190,000 per year, and slight raises for the Sheriff and State’s Attorney based on changes in the Consumer Price Indexes. The committee will present the report to the County Council Tuesday.