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Montgomery County Government Ranks Highest in Region for County’s Top Manager Salaries

The Montgomery County Council received a report today from the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) that provides comparative base salary data for director, executive management and manager series positions in Montgomery County Government, the Federal government and 24 other local governments. The OLO report shows that Montgomery County ranks highest in the Washington-Baltimore region for average government director salaries and ranks third-highest among all the jurisdictions evaluated.

The report, Comparative Data on High-Level Manager Salaries, was requested by the Council to benchmark Montgomery County Government with neighboring and other high cost of living jurisdictions to help determine if the County is paying appropriate and competitive salaries to high-level managers. The report compiles data from 10 jurisdictions in the Washington-Baltimore region, the Federal government and 14 jurisdictions outside the area.

OLO identified the following major findings from the information it reviewed:

  • Among 20 local governments and two federal classifications (Federal Senior Executive Service and Federal Executive Schedule), Montgomery County had the third-highest average salary for director positions at $206,685. Montgomery County’s average director salary was 15.6 percent higher than the combined average for the jurisdictions in this group.
  • Montgomery County’s average director salary was highest among the Washington-Baltimore region. Baltimore County was the second highest at $186,973, which is 9.5 percent below Montgomery.
  • Fairfax County’s average director salary was $169,623, which is 17.9 percent below Montgomery. However, Fairfax had 39 position in this category compared to 27 in Montgomery. Limiting the calculation to Fairfax County’s 27 highest-paid director positions results in an average salary of $182,526, which is 11.7 percent below Montgomery.
  • Montgomery County directors and non-merit appointed positions are not covered by a salary schedule. Historically almost all director positions in Montgomery County Government were assigned to a specific grade with a salary schedule. This practice was ended in 1997
  • The annual salaries for the 422 Montgomery County management positions reviewed by OLO total $58.3 million, which represents 4.6 percent of full-time positions and 8.9 percent of full-time salary costs approved in the Fiscal Year 2016 operating budget. There are 9,174 full-time positions in Montgomery County Government totaling $655.5 million in salary costs.

The OLO report reviews data on annual base salaries only. The report does not include data on the value of benefits, such as retirement or group insurance, or other wages, like overtime or bonuses, that make up an employee’s total compensation package.

OLO notes that there are several factors that may impact whether a jurisdiction offers comparatively higher or lower salaries for high-level managers. These factors include a need to attract and retain highly qualified candidates; competition from surrounding jurisdictions and the private sector; internal pay equity among employees; the costs of living in the region; and the type and amount of non-salary benefits provided. For example, some jurisdictions (like Montgomery County for all non-public safety hires since October 1994) offer newly hired managers defined contribution or cash balance retirement plans, while other jurisdictions offer defined benefit pension plans.

Comparative Data on High-Level Manager Salaries is available online here.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

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