Montgomery Co. council frustrated over appointees’ salaries

WASHINGTON — Salaries for top-level appointees in Montgomery County remain higher than those in many neighboring jurisdictions — and members of a county council committee remain frustrated about that.

In a vote Thursday, the Montgomery County Council’s Government Operations Committee voted 3-0 to reject County Executive Ike Leggett’s salary schedule for “non-represented” employees — those who serve as aides or department heads. The move comes as the council gets ready to vote on the county budget for FY 2018 before the June 1 deadline.

Council member Nancy Navarro, who chairs the committee, noted that the salary schedule forwarded by the county executive was identical to the one submitted last year, but with a 2 percent cost of living increase. “I think that this is just another futile exercise,” Navarro said.

Council member George Leventhal called the salary schedule for top-level employees “badly flawed” in a memo to his colleagues. “I don’t think this administration takes this task seriously at all,” Leventhal said at Thursday’s meeting. Leventhal had spearheaded an effort to bring department head salaries in line with those in neighboring jurisdictions.

In 2015, an Office of Legislative Oversight report found that top salaries of appointed employees were on average 15 percent higher than those in Virginia and the rest of Maryland. At that time, Leggett’s office argued that salaries may be higher in Montgomery County, but there are fewer department heads serving the county than in Fairfax County or the District of Columbia.

Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for Leggett, told WTOP that the office had no statement in response to the committee vote and said simply that “we’re done” with the issue. Under county law, the county executive has no obligation to change the salaries, even if the council rejects his plan.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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