The Crofton Civic Association has boosted cost-of-living increases for all town employees to 5 percent, reversing an earlier decision to give employees 3 percent raises.
The association's Dec. 10 decision had been opposed by town police officers -- who also had their overtime pay reduced and their bonuses eliminated -- and by town residents, many of whom showed up at Monday's meeting to protest the earlier ruling.
But Civic Association president Ed Dosek said the board was not swayed by the community.
"It wasn't the community that precipitatedthe action," he said. "The board took action on its own initiative. The community showed up as they should show up and responded in both ways."
The board made its original cuts Dec. 10, when it unanimously approved a $502,000 budget, which will go into effect July 1. The budget was $20,000 -- or 4 percent -- above this year's $482,000 budget, which was approved in January 1990. Board members wanted to keep the overall budget increase below 5 percent, since any larger spendingincrease would have to be approved by a vote of Crofton taxpayers.
Administrative Assistant Barbara Swann argued that the town's five police officers could see a net loss in pay under the budget plan because the increase would not offset the loss of overtime pay and the increased costs in health benefits.
Swann said increasing the cost-of-living adjustment adds $6,000 to the budget, a 5-percent increase.She said the board managed to keep the increase from exceeding the 5-percent cap by using money from the discretionary fund.
Dosek said the board voted as it did because Town Manager Jordan Harding cameup with new evidence that the town's police officer were not gettingthe same cost-of-living increases as their counterparts in the county.
Harding said Dec. 10 that Crofton had set a precedent in its hiring guidelines in 1987 by giving its officers the same COLA increase-- 4 or 5 percent -- as county police officers received.
Dosek said that since the police officers would get a raise, it was only fairto raise the salaries of all town employees. "What's good enough forthem is good enough for everyone else," he said.
Dosek said he put Harding in charge of supervising town employees, especially the overtime taken by police officers.