Wicomico Executive Salary Increased; Council Approves 26% Pay Adjustment

SALISBURY – Wicomico’s county executive position will receive a $22,000 salary increase following the 2022 election.

On April 5, the Wicomico County Council voted 5-2, with Councilmen Joe Holloway and Larry Dodd opposed, to increase the annual salary for the Wicomico County executive by 26%, from $85,000 to $107,000, commencing with the 2022-2026 term of office.

The decision came after months of back-and-forth discussions on proposed salaries ranging from $100,000 to $124,000.

“In good faith, and trying to come to a consensus so we can move on, I would encourage the $107,000 amendment,” said Councilwoman Nicole Acle. “It’s within reason for us to come to a consensus and move on.”

In December, members of the Wicomico County Compensation and Allowance Commission came before the county council with recommended pay increases for the county executive, county council and the Wicomico County sheriff.

Beginning in 2022, the commission recommended an annual salary of $124,000 for the county executive position (currently $85,000), $25,000 for the Wicomico County Council president (currently $18,000), $23,000 for the Wicomico County Council vice president (currently $17,000) and $21,000 for council members (currently $16,000). The commission also recommended increasing the sheriff’s salary from $95,000 to $121,000.

Since that time, the council has voted to increase the sheriff’s salary to $117,000. And last month, officials voted 5-1, with Holloway opposed and Dodd abstaining, to approve the recommended salary increases for the county council.

At the center of the salary debate, however, was the proposed 46% pay increase for the county executive. Those opposing the commission’s recommendation of $124,000 argued the salary was too high, while those in support argued it wasn’t enough.

“They have recommended the executive’s salary to be increased substantially every four years, going back four consecutive cycles, and it’s always been unanimous,” Councilman Bill McCain said this week. “This is a commission that’s a cross section of our community.”

During a public hearing on Tuesday, resident Mary Ashanti urged the council to support the commission’s recommendation.

“There’s no reason why the county executive should not be paid the salary recommended by the commission that studied the issue …,” she said. “That position governs the county. For him to get less than what was recommended by the commission is unacceptable.”

However, resident Julie Giordano – a candidate in this year’s county executive race – said she supported a $100,000 salary.

“The position is an elected position, a position to represent the people in this county,” she said. “What has been offered at $100,000 I think is more than adequate.”

During council deliberations, Holloway made a motion to amend the annual salary from $124,000 to $100,000. Acknowledging a compromise, Councilman Josh Hastings then made a motion to bring the salary to $107,000.

“I’d love to see it a little bit higher than that,” he said.

McCain agreed, noting that the county sheriff would be paid more than the county executive.

“No one had a problem with that [salary], but it’s more than we’re paying the executive,” he said. “And the executive’s the CEO of the county.”

After further discussion, the council voted 5-2 to amend the executive’s salary to $107,000. And a motion to approve the legislative bill as amended passed by the same vote count.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.