- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

D.C. Council member Kevin P. Chavous said yesterday the Metropolitan Police Department had too many employees earning more than $100,000 a year and recommended reductions in its command staff.Mr. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, said the number of “top brass” positions — commanders, captains and assistant chiefs — that pay more than $100,000 annually has grown to more than 30 under Chief Charles H. Ramsey’s leadership since April 1998. Mr. Chavous introduced an amendment to the city’s budget mandating that 62 percent of sworn officers, including lieutenants and sergeants, be placed on neighborhood patrol.”We have already given the police a lot of room by not including the inflated top brass, these people making over $100,000, in the [service patrol] mandate,” Mr. Chavous said.His amendment passed unanimously.Also yesterday, the council unanimously passed a $3.76 billion city operating budget with no new taxes and no provisions to rein in its top salaries.The Washington Times first reported last month that the District had many more city workers earning $100,000 salaries than Chicago, a city with nearly 3 million residents, and Baltimore, a city of similar size with 651,000 residents.With 572,000 residents, the District has 156 more city workers earning more than $100,000 annually than their counterparts in Chicago. Only 34 of Baltimore’s 15,000 employees earn more than $100,000 a year.Of the District’s 34,000 city employees, 575 earn $100,000 or more a year. That number rose from 301 in 1999, when Mayor Anthony A. Williams took office.Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, has expressed concern about the proliferation of executive-style pay to subordinate employees but says the issue has not reached a level that would require legislative restrictions.For fiscal year 2004, the council yesterday agreed to keep the fee and tax increases on cigarette and alcohol sales, and on deed recordings and transfers, as those in the 2003 budget.But the council eliminated increased tax burdens on parking garages, and new taxes on health club membership sales, towing and other tax-exempt services. Members again refused to pass the temporary surcharge tax that Mr. Williams proposed for residents earning more than $100,000.Last week, council members were shocked by City Administrator John A. Koskinen’s statement that he would not undertake a salary review. His comments contradicted a promise made by Mr. Williams a week earlier.Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat and chairman of the council’s Judiciary Committee, began reviewing high-salary jobs in agencies under her purview last year. Last month, she urged other committee chairmen to conduct their own reviews.She had said she was surprised to learn that Mr. Williams’ administration would not do the same.Mr. Chavous, who has introduced a 10-point community policing plan, says he wants to reduce from 12 to four the number of police department executive officers in the city’s Regional Operation Command Center. He also said that hiring members of specialized units at high salaries has to stop.Reducing the command staff will “give the district commander and his subordinates more authority to respond to community needs and utilize resources more effectively,” Mr. Chavous said.Some council members initially balked at Mr. Chavous’ measure to put more than half of the city’s police officers on the streets, saying the measure didn’t go far enough.”The fact that Chief Ramsey would tell us we don’t have 60 percent of lieutenants and sergeants on patrols is outrageous, and we should not only increase it to 80 percent but include everyone,” said council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat.The council has agreed to include $3 million in the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2004 budget to increase its number of sworn officers to 3,800.”At least this time around in the budget we made sure that if the department doesn’t get to 3,800, and I hope they do, the money can’t be wasted on something else,” said council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat.

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