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Commissioners vote down
salary increase for second time

(6/19) For the second time in a month, the Emmitsburg commissioners voted down a motion to increase the mayoral and commissioner salaries.

Mayor James Hoover originally presented the commissioners with the idea of increasing the salary of mayor and commissioners at the June 2 town meeting, which was discussed by the commissioners who then voted down a motion to increase the salaries.

Even if passed, none of the current commissioners or mayor would see a salary increase due to the charter rules which forbid sitting members to raise their salary while in office. The commissioners and mayor have not seen a salary increase since the spring of 2002, two commissioners were not at all interested in a raise.

The issue was brought to the table again at the June 16 meeting. Town Manager Dave Haller presented the commissioners with a memo listing what the salaries of a mayor and commissioners had a typical cost-of-living increase been applied, which would have raised the mayoral salary from $8,000 to $9472 annually and the commissioner salary from $4,000 to $4,736 annually.

“I hate to lay groundwork for wild increases in salary,” said commission president Chris Staiger. “I don’t really know the value of increasing a salary by 10 to 15 percent.”

Commissioner Denise Etris shared Staiger’s view.

“We need to be fiscally responsible,” Etris said. “I would have taken the job if there was no money.”

Commissioners Glenn Blanchard and Joyce Rosensteel favored the increase, but a tie vote of Staiger and Etris against and Blanchard and Rosensteel for, killed the motion for salary increases.

“I don’t believe anybody does it for the money. But also I believe if there is going to be a form of compensation then realistic measures should take place,” Hoover said after the meeting. “If it’s been six years [since the last raise], where are you going to take action?”

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