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March 1, 2011
The Compensation Commission met on Monday, March 1, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Blue Crab Conference at City Hall, 111 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850.
Tom Moore, Chair
Staff in attendance: Glenda P. Evans, City Clerk; Brenda Bean, Deputy City Clerk; City Attorney Debra Daniel and Mayor and Council Liaison Councilmember Bridget Donnell Newton.
Interested parties present: Harry W. Thomas potential applicant for the Commission and Karl Plitt, representing the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Chair Tom Moore called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.
Approval of Minutes – January 31, 2011
Upon motion of Jim Marrinan, duly seconded by Steve Edwards and unanimously passed, the minutes of January 31, 2011 were approved.
Discussion on Applicant for Compensation Commission
The application of Joseph Bradley was discussed. Chair Tom Moore asked about the process for the Commission to put forth the name of an applicant to the Mayor and Council. Councilmember Newton responded and said that the Commission may make a recommendation to the Mayor but that, ultimately, it is the Mayor’s decision. Harry Thomas announced that he would be an applicant as well.
Overview of the Purpose of the Commission
For the benefit of Harry Thomas, who just completed his application to serve on the Commission, Chair Tom Moore reviewed the mission of the Compensation Commission and laid out the remainder of the meeting schedule.
Harry Thomas introduced himself and provided his background in terms of City involvement and stated that he thought the Compensation Commission would be something he could contribute to while, at the same time, learn more about the City.
Karl Plitt, representing the FOP, said that he is currently learning about the Compensation Commission and did not have input with respect to Mayor and Council compensation at this time.
Discussion of Possible Recommendations to the Mayor and Council
There was discussion on the recommendation of the Commission in 2009 and Chair Moore said that it was the desire of the Commission to peg the numbers to the regional CPI which would, essentially, set it on auto pilot. He followed with the Commission has an interest to make sure, over time, that the compensation will be sufficient, and that the figures presented in the 2009 recommendation were online with comparable jurisdictions. Councilmember Newton commented that the current compensation of the Mayor and Council is consistent with what other jurisdictions are doing and this was a result of the 2007 recommendation. Over the long haul, Chair Moore said the question boils down to what keeps the level of compensation fair for people to run for Mayor and Council?
Jim Marrinan explained that, in arriving at their 2009 recommendation, they looked at other jurisdictions that were comparable to Rockville. In order to be fair and objective, he said that recommendation was not just based on inflation but the consumer price index and other things as well. Mr. Marrinan said there was a fair amount of input last time.
There was discussion on the emails received from citizens on Mayor and Council compensation and it was noted they were all opposed to an increase at this time. Mr. Moore said that this was not surprising in light of the federal pay freeze. City Clerk Evans noted that federal employees were still entitled to step increases and monetary awards.
Mr. Thomas said that he had seen a reference to “abolishment of the Commission” and asked what the thought process was for this. Mr. Marrinan explained that the intent was to continue as a commission convening every two years for the purpose of receiving citizen input but that the hard numbers would be delved into every six years.
Mr. Plitt asked if there are changes to the workload of the Mayor and Council and Chair Moore responded that there has been no formal legal change to the Charter. Commission member Marrinan said that the population of the city has increased over time which could necessitate the increase of hours put in by the Mayor and Council. It requires discretion and the Mayor and Council can decide on the amount of time that they put in.
Mr. Thomas asked about the form of government (strong manager/weak Mayor) and Chair Moore explained that the Mayor and Council set policy and the City Manager implements that policy. Mr. Thomas said he personally believes that Rockville should be a strong Mayor and Mr. Edwards responded that that would require a change to the Charter. He also said that research has shown that the predominate type of government for cities our size, with the exception of Frederick, is a strong manager. Mr. Moore said that periodically the Mayor and Council appoint a Charter Review Commission for the purpose of examining the form of government, among other things. Mr. Edwards suggested that Mr. Thomas review the 2002 report of Charter Review Commission.
City Clerk Evans said that she would research the compensation of Mayor and Councils in surrounding communities and will disseminate that information along with the history of Mayor and Council compensation. Chair Moore will pull together the figures from the November 2010 CPI-U for the Baltimore Washington regional area.
With respect to the recommendations, and Mayor and Council decision of the 2009 reports, Commissioner Edwards asked for a summary of that in writing. To clarify the action of the Mayor and Council in 2009, Chair Moore said that when the Mayor and Council voted on the recommendations, they rejected the increase recommended for FY2010 and approved the recommendation for FY2011 and FY2012. The Board was advised that the the Mayor and Council did not fund the proposed increases in their FY 2011 budget.
There was additional discussion on actions necessary if the Mayor and Council do not act on the recommendation within sixty days. Chair Moore said that if the intent is not to accept the recommendation, the Mayor and Council should formally reject it instead of not funding the increases in the budget.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.
There being no further business and upon motion of Commissioner Marrinan, duly seconded by Commission Edwards and unanimously approved, the meeting adjourned at 7:57 pm.