Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden plans to unveil his first budget today with no pay raises for the county's 8,000 employees.
Mr. Hayden and his staff refused to discuss details of the budget yesterday, and several county officials would provide details only on condition that they not be identified.
But union representatives who negotiated salaries with the administration confirmed a report in The Evening Sun that pay raises for county employees were not included in this year's budget.
Carole Hammen, director of membership services for the Maryland Classified Employees Association, said the union's 1,894 employees will still get any step increases or raises tied to length of service that may be due them.
But she confirmed that there will be no general pay increase nor cost-of-living raises.
"It's one of those sad things that with the fiscal realities we're facing, the money just isn't there," said Ms. Hammen, whose union represents employees ranging from secretaries and police dispatchers to building inspectors.
She said the union is still negotiating its contract with the administration for the coming year.
But Ms. Hammen said details of the economic portion of the pact, which includes salary structures, have been ironed out.
She noted that her members did not get a pay raise two years ago, a point that many say may have contributed to Mr. Hayden's victory over former Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen.
Given the fiscal constraints facing Baltimore County and most other Maryland jurisdictions because of the economy, Ms. Hammen said, employees may be more willing to accept salaries with no cost-of-living raises.
In Howard County the executive, Charles I. Ecker, laid off 40 employees yesterday and previously had said county workers will get no raises.
Government salaries have been frozen in Harford County, and layoffs of state employees have been discussed for the past several months.
"All of the jurisdictions in the area are going through the same things, but we're hoping that we'll get in there next year and get a good contract," Ms. Hammen said.
Dorothy Whittaker, president of the 260-member Baltimore County chapter of the Staff Nurses Association, confirmed that her group also will not be getting pay raises.
She said the pay scale will mean that high school nurses will continue to make slightly more than members of her group, who work in the elementary schools, the county jail and the health department.
Mr. Hayden has refused to say if his budget will include money to fully fund the 3 percent pay raise negotiated earlier this year between the teachers and the county Board of Education.
Edward Veit, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said he was unsure if the budget contains pay raises for the teachers.
MA "I guess we'll find all that out when the budget numbers come
out," he said.
Last year, the teachers negotiated a 6 percent pay raise, but got only 4 percent from Mr. Rasmussen.
Mr. Hayden expects revenue increases of only $35 million next year, according to county budget analysts.
The Education Department has requested an increase of $51 million that includes costs to cover 4,000 more students in the county schools next September. Mr. Hayden, a former school board president, has vowed not to increase class sizes.
The county's current $1.1 billion budget includes a property tax rate of $2.89 for each $100 of assessed value. Each 1 percent pay raise is said to cost the county $6 million.