Frederick County Council members started discussing the compensation review commission Tuesday night, determining that group should likely consist of nine members — seven picked by council members, one picked by County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and another by an outside group.
Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) led the discussion, highlighting what other county councils have done statewide. The county charter requires that the County Council establish the commission to review the council and county executive’s salaries.
Currently, council members make $22,500 annually without benefits, and the county executive makes $95,000 with benefits.
Council members won’t finalize how many members will sit on the commission until later this month, given the schedule Keegan-Ayer described holds. They’ll also decide on how those members should be chosen and any qualifications those members should have.
Keegan-Ayer said one point she heard from county officials in the state is it would be unwise for each council member to pick their own person to sit on the commission, given supposed conflicts of interest and other complications.
But other council members thought it would be better for each member to pick a person, then confirmed by the entire council. That would lead to a greater diversity in terms of policy and geography, they said.
Council Vice President Michael Blue (R) initially wanted a seven-member commission—but after some discussion, said he was fine with nine members.
That means the eighth person would be picked by the county executive, and the ninth by the county’s Chamber of Commerce, he said. Blue agreed, like others suggested, that the League of Women Voters was a good group but preferred the Chamber of Commerce, due to its knowledge on local and political matters.
“The chamber seems to have their pulse on a lot of things,” Blue said.
Donald said he would need to digest the discussion before returning to finalize some details of the commission but had faith he and his colleagues would pick nine worthy candidates.
“If we pick nine sensible people, I think it will turn out fine,” Donald said.