By Rachel O'Brien
Deputy Policy Editor, OpenTheBooks.com
Earlier this year, the 14 members of the Baltimore City Council received an almost $2,000 pay raise, a 2.5 percent bump.
Their salaries jumped from $74,790 to $76,660 effective Jan 1, 2022, thanks to a 2007 law that gives the city’s elected officials a raise whenever a city employee union receives one, The Baltimore Sun reported.
This raise came thanks to the Managerial and Professional Society of Baltimore Inc., a union representing the city’s professional and supervisory employees, which negotiated a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment that went into effect July 1, 2021, The Sun reported.
Mayor Brandon Scott also got a pay raise from $194,189 to $199,044, while Council President Nick J. Mosby and Comptroller Bill Henry earn $131,798, up from $128,583, and Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton got a raise to $84,729, up from $82,662, Baltimore Brew reported.
On top of the pay raises, some council members get taxpayer-funded vehicles.
In 2021, the City Council spent $51,332 on vehicles from Acme Auto Leasing, LLC, according to the city’s spending checkbook provided to OpenTheBooks.com via a Maryland Public Information Act request.
The information from the city doesn’t show which member of the city council or staff member drives the leased vehicles. Baltimore City has yet to fill our separate MPIA request for a full list of which city employees are given taxpayer-funded vehicles.
On top of the pay raise and taxpayer-funded cars, some council members and/or staff got tickets to the 2021 Preakness Stakes horserace held each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The City Council paid $1,000 to Maryland Jockey Club of Baltimore City for Preakness tickets in May 2021, according to the city’s spending records.
Councilmembers Odette Ramos, District 14, and Zeke Cohen, District 1, told OpenTheBooks.com that neither they nor their staff have leased cars through the city and they didn’t attend Preakness.
Other councilmembers didn’t respond to our requests for comment by our deadline.