- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday he will change language in an emergency resolution he has submitted to the D.C. Council to clarify that the approval of a $25,000 raise for Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey will not be linked to raises for other senior staff members.

“I do have every intention of working with the council,” Mr. Williams said. “It was never my intention as mayor to introduce legislation that would authorize broad-based salary increases.”

The earlier resolution would have granted Chief Ramsey a pay raise from $150,000 to $175,000 per year.

The Washington Times reported June 4 that as it was worded, the resolution would have also allowed Mr. Williams to pay his agency directors and Cabinet members, who are currently on the executive-service pay schedule, as much as $34,000 more a year. The resolution would have added the position of police chief to the highest level of the D.C. government’s executive-service pay schedule and would have raised the salary cap for that level to $175,000.

Executive-service employee salaries are now capped at $141,000 a year.

The Times reported Saturday that council members remain divided over whether Chief Ramsey deserves a raise, and that some were dissatisfied that the mayor’s resolution ever made it to the council in the first place.

Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, said narrowing the focus of the resolution may help the mayor’s cause.

“I think that was a good step and a good move on his part,” Mrs. Cropp said.

City Administrator John Koskinen said the Office of Personnel is crafting new wording for the resolution, which could be released as early as today, clarifying that the position of police chief will be added to the highest level of the pay schedule but that the raise will apply to Chief Ramsey alone.

Mr. Koskinen said the position of police chief was added to the executive pay schedule as part of an ongoing effort to consolidate the city’s pay structure. But he said city leaders were surprised to find out the resolution could be read as authorizing the mayor to make additional raises.

“I think it was a perfectly good question to raise, but it wasn’t what the intent was,” Mr. Koskinen said. “None of us intended that.”

Council members Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat; Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat; and Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, have said they don’t support a pay raise for Chief Ramsey because they contend the chief puts too little emphasis on getting officers into neighborhoods and that he has presided over a rising crime rate.

Harold Brazil, at-large Democrat, and Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat, have publicly supported a pay raise.

Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Democrat; and Kevin Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, and Mrs. Cropp have said they would only vote for the pay increase if it is tied to performance measures, such as putting more officers in city neighborhoods and reducing crime.

Mrs. Cropp said yesterday that she has been speaking with the mayor about performance measures. She said she does not expect such measures to be written into the chief’s contract — an idea the mayor rejected — and she was still considering whether they should be written into the resolution authorizing the pay increase.

Mrs. Cropp said if Mr. Williams can assure council members that he takes police performance concerns seriously, he could win the raise for Chief Ramsey.

“If the council members’ concerns are addressed with regard to [police performance], I think that there would be more support,” Mrs. Cropp said.

Mr. Williams, who said he planned to lobby council members on behalf of Chief Ramsey, said the debate over the police chief’s raise has become “much too inflammatory” and “too personalized in some respects.”

He said he believes he will get the seven votes needed.

“I am confident I will be able to work out an arrangement with the council so that I will be able to keep this police chief,” he said.

The D.C. Council, along with its judiciary and government operations committees, will take up the resolution June 17.

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