Saturday, March 15, 2014 5:25 AM
Published on: Thursday, November 07, 2013
By Holden Wilen
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is refusing to sign a bill the county council passed which would increase the salaries of county elected officials.
Last month the county council voted 8-1 to increase the salary for county council members from $104,291 to $136,258 and to raise the salary for the county executive from $180,250 to $190,000. The changes will take place when the next crop of officials is elected in 2014, and the salaries will increase through a phased-in approach over the four-year term, which Council President Nancy Navarro proposed.
“I did sponsor an amendment, which significantly reduced the compensation committee's recommendation. This amendment was adopted by my colleagues,” Navarro said. “The council voted 8-1 in support of the amended bill. The executive has the right to choose whether to sign or not to sign the bill. I stand by the council's decision.”
Councilman Phil Andrews, who was the only councilmember to vote against the bill, said he was not aware of Leggett’s refusal until the media began reporting on it, and he thinks Leggett should have let the council know beforehand about his views.
“It might have changed some people’s minds and it could have affected the vote,” Andrews said.
Leggett told the compensation committee in July that he was not okay with a compensation increase, according to county spokesman Patrick Lacefield, but the committee did not include Leggett’s views in its report.
“He felt that what was comfortable for him was any change in compensation increase for the county executive and council should be just a cost-of-living increase, not with an additional bump in the pay level and certainly nothing approaching 30 percent for council members,” Lacefield said.
Leggett chose not to veto the bill, Lacefield said, because the council voted 8-1 to pass the bill and it only takes six votes to override a veto. When asked if Leggett’s actions were politically motivated because he is running for reelection, Lacefield said, “Not at all.”
“(Leggett) expressed his opinion back in July and again when he was asked the question,” Lacefield said. “We have not highlighted it at all.”