County Executive Hornberger Announces $10,000 Salary Increase  for Cecil County Law Enforcement and Public Safety Professionals

“I took an oath to ensure the safety of Cecil County’s citizens. This investment in our hardworking men and women in public safety is a reflection of my ongoing commitment to keeping our communities safe.”

Today, Cecil County Executive Danielle Hornberger announced historic, across-the-board pay increases for members of Cecil County’s three law enforcement and public safety labor unions, as well as emergency services dispatchers and prosecutors within the State’s Attorneys office. Under the County Executive’s proposed plan, these law enforcement and public safety professionals will receive a $10,000 salary increase, effective July 1, 2023, pending approval by the County Council and labor unions.

“I took an oath to ensure the safety of Cecil County’s citizens,” said County Executive Hornberger. “This investment in our hardworking men and women in public safety is a reflection of my ongoing commitment to keeping our communities safe.”

In last year’s county budget (FY23), County Executive Hornberger and the County Council allocated funding to initiate a comprehensive pay assessment for law enforcement with support from Sheriff Scott Adams. The Administration subsequently engaged renowned economist Anirban Basu of the Sage Policy Group to conduct an analysis comparing Sheriff’s deputy compensation in Cecil County to that of comparable, proximate law enforcement agencies.

The compensation study by the Sage Policy Group confirmed a “salary lag” for law enforcement starting compensation. Although law enforcement union members received an approximate 22% increase (steps and COLA compounded) over the life of their current four-year contract signed in fall 2021, the Sage study showed that starting salaries for law enforcement still lagged by about 15%. In addition, the study noted that salaries for existing officers were also lower than those in the sample set.

According to the study, the recent spike in anti–law enforcement rhetoric across the country coupled with a post-Covid worker shortage has created an intensely competitive environment for public safety workers in the region. As a result, jurisdictions surrounding Cecil County have been steadily increasing public safety wages, making it more difficult for Cecil to both attract candidates and retain its tenured officers.

In addition to the study (which focused exclusively on law enforcement), a compensation assessment conducted by the Cecil County Department of Human Resources indicated that a commensurate salary increase was also warranted for the other public safety branches.

“It’s not a secret that there is a great demand for emergency services professionals, and that local governments across the region are all drawing from the same limited pool of candidates,” said Wayne Tome, Sr., director of the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services. “County Executive Hornberger’s proposed pay increase will empower us to become fully staffed and improve the delivery of critical services to our citizens.”

The County Executive’s announcement was also welcomed by Cecil County State’s Attorney James Dellmyer. “Unfortunately, crime does exist in Cecil County, but my office is fully committed to keeping criminals off our streets,” said Dellmyer. “To do that, however, requires talented, experienced, and fairly-compensated prosecutors. I want to thank County Executive Hornberger for her continued commitment to law and order.”

The total cost of the $10,000 raise is approximately $2.6 million, and is included in the FY24 budget request that will be presented to the County Council on April 1, 2023. Funding for the proposed raises will be allocated in the normal operating budget with no tax increase.

The County Executive and Sage Policy Group founder and CEO Anirban Basu presented the study’s findings to the County Council on Tuesday, March 28. The Sage Policy Group study can be accessed online at the Cecil County Government website at Sage Cecil Report.