Balto. Co. workers may get no raises Hayden budget said to carry no pay increases.

April 15, 1991|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Evening Sun Staff

After criticizing his predecessor for not paying county employees adequately, Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden is including no pay raises in the budget he'll submit to the County Council tomorrow, sources said.

Hayden refused to comment on the pay raise issue until tomorrow. "April 16 we'll talk about it," he said.

Although not pleased about the development, several labor leaders refrained from criticizing Hayden.

Carole Hammen, director of membership services for the Maryland Classified Employees Association, said the 1,800 county employees who are members of MCEA have "mixed" feelings.

"Of course, our members are not happy" about not getting a pay raise, she said. At the same time, she said, they are thankful that they will get longevity pay increments and that Hayden has said there will be no layoffs.

Hammen said there may be several innovative features in an eventual contract that will please members, too.

County teachers, who negotiated a 3 percent pay raise with the school board earlier this year, also will not get any pay raises because Hayden is not including any funds for that purpose in his proposed budget, sources said.

The teachers negotiated a 6 percent pay raise with the board last year, but only got the 4 percent that the previous executive, Dennis F. Rasmussen, gave all employees.

Salaries for the County Council are due to increase 5.8 percent Dec. 1, from $30,900 to $32,700, plus $3,000 more for the chairman. The executive's salary is to rise from $85,000 to $89,900 Dec. 1, but Hayden has said he won't accept the raise.

At a June 26, 1990, campaign appearance in Towson, Hayden criticized then-incumbent Rasmussen as a man "who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on the courthouse lawn, lighting and redecorating offices, and then can't give people more than a 2 percent raise." Each 1 percent pay raise costs the county roughly $6 million.

Dorothy Whittaker, president of the 260-member county chapter the Staff Nurses Association, said her public health nurses have been seeking the same slightly higher pay as school nurses get and now are getting no raises at all. "The economy is bad and we can understand that," she said, adding that it still rankles.

One longtime county employee said that despite not getting a raise, he is satisfied because Hayden is much more personable than Rasmussen seemed to be and is not reluctant to rub shoulders with his workers. "Rasmussen forgot where he came from," the worker said. "This one says 'Come and talk to me,' and I do."

In the proposed budget, Hayden is offering each of the county's labor groups the equivalent of about $50 per member to do with what they please, according to sources.

None of the labor groups, representing police, firefighters, nurses, blue-collar and white-collar workers, has yet signed an agreement with the Hayden administration.

Hayden is facing a very tight year financially, having imposed a $42 million ceiling on spending growth. The increase in revenue has been projected at only $35 million by budget experts. The education department has requested an increase of $51 million.

The county is expecting 4,000 more students to be enrolled for classes in September, and Hayden has committed himself to no increase in class sizes. The county operating budget now totals $1.1 billion, and the property tax rate is $2.895 per $100 of assessed value.

Hayden was elected last November on a wave of resentment against soaring county spending and increased property taxes.

The County Council's annual public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 23 at Loch Raven Senior High School, 1212 Cowpens Ave.

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