Sunday, October 16, 2005

Come together...

It is a sad day in politics when a Democrat and a Republican agreeing becomes news. It is even sadder when you find out what they agree on.

Republican County Councilman Christopher J. Merdon and Democratic Councilman Ken Ulman don't often agree, but both think the next County Council should get a hefty pay raise.

Merdon, who represents Ellicott City and Elkridge and is running for county executive next year, told the council-appointed Compensation Review Commission last week that he "wouldn't be opposed to going to the high $40,000s or low $50,000s" from $33,800 a year.

Ulman, who represents west Columbia and might run for re-election or for county executive, said he agrees with "the ballpark of what Chris referred to," but said the raise could be to the mid-$40,000s.
Kidding aside, our council members put in a lot of work and should be paid accordingly. The fact that they can work a regular job at the same time they are on the council is admirable, but extremely demanding and possibly detrimental to their service to the county. Which is why it almost seems like pay raises are not enough. The concept of part-time legislators has become antiquated, a relic from our agrarian past where councilmen were farmers first and legislators second. Is there still a good reason why county council should not be a full-time job? Don't we want people working full time on the needs and issues facing this county?

I do.

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