Somerset Commissioners endorse redistricting, pay raises

General Assembly to be the last word on both although approval expected

Crisfield-Somerset County Times
Posted 12/20/21

PRINCESS ANNE — Legislation to raise the salaries of local elected officials will be introduced in the next regular General Assembly session at the request of the County Commissioners.

It …

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5.99 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.


Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Somerset Commissioners endorse redistricting, pay raises

General Assembly to be the last word on both although approval expected

Posted

PRINCESS ANNE — Legislation to raise the salaries of local elected officials will be introduced in the next regular General Assembly session at the request of the County Commissioners.

It joins the redistricting plan following the board’s recent approval of Map 1aa. This map realigns a handful of neighborhoods in Districts 1, 2 and 3 (see current  map) by using U.S. 13 as a dividing line to separate Districts 2 and 3 in Princess Anne.

The map was recommended by the redistricting committee and retains Districts 1 and 2 as minority majority voting blocs. There are no changes to Districts 4 and 5. Legislation for this will be introduced at the start of the January session so it can be approved and signed into law by Feb. 22 — the last day to file a certificate of candidacy.

Also proposed are increases in pay for the County Commissioners and board president, the Sheriff, and State’s Attorney. If approved they would start after office holders are sworn in following the 2022 election.

The yearly salary of a commissioner would increase from $8,500 to $10,000. The president’s pay would increase from $9,500 to $11,000.

Commissioners also serve as members of the roads board, and the proposal is to increase that by $2,500 so each member would receive $10,000 and the president $11,000.

County Administrator Doug Taylor said this still won’t bring Somerset County in line with other counties, based on a salary study by Maryland Association of Counties. And Commissioner Randy Laird said, it also doesn’t go in effect until after the next election. The present salaries were adopted in 2016.

The Somerset County Sheriff has been paid $75,000 per year since the 2016 election, and the proposal is to raise that to $85,000. There is no expense allowance, unlike commissioners, who are extended up to $3,000 for expenses incurred for official duties.

The Somerset County State’s Attorney is paid $113,066 which is slightly more than 70% of what a District Court judge makes. The proposal is to raise it to 80% which is how Dorchester, Kent and Caroline counties set the rate of pay (Wicomico and Worcester counties use 90%).

That means if judges’ pay does not change the local salary would rise to $129,066 per year. By doing this as a percentage, Mr. Taylor said, the county will not need to request legislation for this in the future.

During the meeting Del. Charles Otto and Sen. Mary Beth Carozza accepted the requests and received previous bills as samples to consider.

Senator Carozza said the county’s information will be turned over to the Department of Legislative Services and returned for one last look by the commissioners before being introduced. “These are all straightforward,” she said, “and we can expect these bills will be given the local courtesy.”