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General Assembly approves judges’ first pay raise in 3 years

Salaries will increase $5,000 annually for four years

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland judges will receive their first pay raise since 2015 this July, as the Senate on Monday night joined the House in passing a resolution calling for a $5,000 annual boost for the next four years.

The resolution does not require Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature.

The Senate’s 42-2 vote followed testimony from Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera and Court of Appeals Judge Joseph M. Getty – a former delegate and senator – in which they told senators the pay increase was needed to entice and retain the best legal minds to the bench.

Under the resolution, judges will receive a $5,000 raise on July 1, the first day of fiscal year 2019. The judges would then receive annual raises of $5,000 the next three fiscal years for a total boost of $20,000 as of July 1, 2021.

The resolution, as amended by the House Appropriations Committee, reflects a lower pay raise than the Maryland Judicial Compensation Commission recommended in January. The commission had sought a $10,000 raise July 1 and a total increase of $35,000 as of July 1, 2021.

House Joint Resolution 3 will boost Barbera’s salary, as the state’s top jurist, to $200,433 as of July 1. Court of Special Appeals Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward’s salary will climb to $171,633 and John P. Morrissey, chief district court judge, will have a salary boost to $168,633.

The salary of Court of Appeals judges will rise to $181,433, and Court of Special Appeals judges’ pay will increase to $168,633.

Circuit court judges will receive $159,433, while a district court judge’s pay will increase to $146,333.

By comparison, Gov. Larry Hogan’s annual salary is $180,000. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch are paid $65,371 each.

At the end of the resolution’s four-year cycle, the Court of Appeals chief judge’s salary will be $215,433; the Court of Special Appeals chief judge will be paid $186,633; and the chief district court judge will get $183,633.

The salary of Court of Appeals judges will be $196,433; Court of Special Appeals judges will get $183,633; circuit court judges will receive $174,433; and district court judges will be paid $161,333.

The House passed the resolution Feb. 27 on a vote of 105-31.

Judicial Compensation Commission members are named by the governor, the leaders of the Senate and House, and the Maryland State Bar Association.

Elizabeth Buck chairs the commission. The other members are Norman Conway, Edward Gilliss, Van Mitchell, Alice Pinderhughes, Joshua Schmerling and John Suit II.

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