- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2003

   Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday signed a letter of agreement that will extend his five-year contract by 57 months and increase his annual salary from $150,000 to $175,000 — the third-highest in the District’s government.
   The contract agreement ended weeks of negotiations between Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Chief Ramsey amid speculation about whether the chief would leave to lead police officers in Chicago, his hometown. Chief Ramsey, 53, had not received a pay raise since he began leading the Metropolitan Police Department in April 1998.
   “I am confident that Chief Ramsey is the best person to lead MPD,” Mr. Williams said in a prepared statement. “This department has come a long way in the last five years.”
   During negotiations, D.C. Council members and community activists had criticized Chief Ramsey for the city’s homicide rate, which has risen 24 percent in the past year, and called for him to put more officers on neighborhood streets. Critics have said the chief is more concerned with protecting the downtown area than the neighborhoods.
   Responding to criticism, Mr. Williams said, “Chief Ramsey and I both know that [the police department] has to continue to improve. … Now that he’s here for the long haul, we will work together to make sure this government is providing our residents with the quality of service they deserve.”
   Mr. Williams said Wednesday that he will enforce a measure in the city budget, which he said he will sign, that demands more neighborhood police patrols.
   “We worked with the council, and we will be able to meet the requirements of putting 62 percent of our officers in the neighborhoods,” Mr. Williams said.
   The resolution of Chief Ramsey’s contract comes during a week in which the D.C. Council approved the city’s $3.76 billion operating budget. The District faces a potential shortfall of $323 million.
   Council member Kevin P. Chavous on Tuesday said the police department has 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 Ramsey’s leadership.
   Mr. Chavous introduced the amendment to the city’s budget mandating that 62 percent of sworn officers, including lieutenants and sergeants, be placed on neighborhood patrol.
   The Washington Times first reported last month that the District has 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.
   The District, which has 572,000 residents, has 156 more city workers earning more than $100,000 annually than Chicago. In Baltimore, 34 of the city’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 Mr. Williams first took office.
   With his pay raise, Chief Ramsey enters a tie as the District’s third-highest-paid city worker. Schools Superintendent Paul L. Vance also earns $175,000 a year.
   Only D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission President Bobby Goldwater, who earns $275,000 a year, and William Pollard, who earns $200,000 a year as president of the University of the District of Columbia, now make more than Chief Ramsey. The mayor earns $142,000 a year.
   Chief Ramsey has become the longest-serving police chief since Maurice T. Turner Jr., who served eight years in the 1980s.
   The D.C. Council cannot void Chief Ramsey’s four-year, nine-month contract, but its approval is needed for the pay increase and a 1 percent improvement in his annual pension annuity. Council member Kathy Patterson heads the Judiciary Committee, which will vote on those issues.
   Mrs. Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, said yesterday that she told Mr. Williams she opposes the Ramsey contract. She declined to express an opinion on his pay raise.
   “I have issue with the performance of the Metropolitan Police Department, in terms of hiring, overtime and handling of demonstrations,” said Mrs. Patterson, who has accused the chief of running an inefficient and mismanaged department.
   The council last month voted to approve 175 additional police officers for the force, which will bring the total number of officers to 3,800 by October 2004.
   The Metropolitan Police Department is already the largest police department in the country, per capita.
   Chief Ramsey has achieved international recognition for his ability to protect the downtown area from terrorism, and he has received compliments from President Bush. He also has drawn attention for his public relations and his tactics in controlling crowds of demonstrators.
   In September, police officers surrounded and arrested more than 400 people protesting the World Bank in Pershing Park without giving them orders to disperse or a warning. Protesters complained of mistreatment by officers, including having their hands cuffed tightly to their ankles.
   The chief’s relations with the police union also have soured, to the point that the group’s spokesman said he would like to see Chief Ramsey leave the District for Chicago.
   Chief Ramsey worked in the Chicago Police Department before coming to the District in 1998. He started as a police cadet in 1968 and as a patrol officer in 1971.

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