It’s never a comfortable process when you ask a legislative body to consider approving a raise that could potentially benefit them in the near future. But that was the position the Frederick County Council found itself in earlier this week when they voted on raises — significant ones at that — for the county executive and council members elected in the 2022 election.
On Tuesday, council members voted 6-1 to raise the executive’s pay from $95,000 to $137,000 and voted 4-3 to raise council salaries from $22,500 to $35,000. These would be the first pay increase for the positions since the start of the county’s charter government in 2014. In March, the raises were recommended by a commission established to review compensation for the elected officials.
While we can’t find fault with the new salaries, we agree with Councilman Steve McKay who argued that the executive’s salary should have been phased in over the next four-year term. We’d argue the same should have happened for the council raises.
But as far as the amount, the salary levels seem on par with neighboring jurisdictions. There is one caveat, however, so that we don’t see these significant jumps again — review salaries every four years. Waiting eight, as we did here, can only lead to sticker shock.
If Frederick is going to fully rebound from the impact of the pandemic, a strong return of arts and entertainment will play a vital role.
That’s the message members of the Frederick arts community delivered during a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. David Trone on Wednesday. Trone encouraged them to work with his office and local leaders to secure funds from the American Rescue Plan to support the return of arts downtown.
“Let us work together with you” to help with funding, the congressman told the gathering of about a dozen local arts supporters.
And with much of our recovery’s focus on restaurants and small businesses, Trone said it’s time for a focus on more creative aspects, hence Wednesday’s meeting.
And with $10 million earmarked for the city in the federal government’s American Recovery Plan, Trone encouraged those at the meeting to look for ways to draw some of those dollars to the local arts scene. “There’s a ton of money there,” he said.
Sounds like good advice from the congressman. Those funds could be put to good use here. As we know, our local art galleries, museums and entertainment venues — along with restaurants — are important economic drivers for the city. So, it’s critical that we do everything we can to help them reopen.
You might not know the name Stuart Harvey, but if you appreciate democracy and the right to vote here in Frederick County, then you have seen his work.
Harvey announced this week that he is retiring after 31 years of public service, including 19 as Frederick County’s election director.
Over the years, Harvey has been instrumental in streamlining many facets of the election process. For us, he’s always been responsive when we’ve sought information to relay to readers about an upcoming or ongoing election.
So, while he’ll be missed, we wish Stuart a happy retirement. Maybe you’ll catch him in line at the next election — unless, of course, he decides to vote by mail — something he helped implement in Frederick County.
We know it does no good to complain about the weather, but sometimes, we just can’t help it.
We’re big fans here of Alive @ Five, Downtown Frederick Partnership’s weekly outdoor happy hour that happens every Thursday at the Carroll Creek Amphitheater during the summer. We love the music, the food and the chance to hang out with friends. It’s particularly fun following this past year of COVID when the event couldn’t be held.
Storms forced the cancellation of this week’s Alive @ Five, and that got us thinking that it seems to rain way too often on Thursdays. Back on July 1, rain shortened the season’s first Alive@ Five. And if our memory is correct, it happened several times back in 2019.
This is more than just a problem for those of us who want to get our weekend started a day early. The funds from Alive @ Five help the partnership as well as attract people downtown.
There’s always next week, though, we checked the long-range forecast for next Thursday: Slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Ugh.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to email@example.com.