Pension bill shelved by County Council

June 18, 1991|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

The Baltimore County Council last night withdrew a measure that would beef up the pension package for the county's top elected officials, supervisors and managers.

County Council Chairman Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, withdrew the measure at the last minute last night, saying council members needed more time to consider the bill.

The bill called for changing the method of calculating pensions and allowing for more generous pension benefits.

Mr. Riley said the measure would be reintroduced at the s July 1 meeting.

The plan would mean that pensions would be based on the salary earned in an employee's final year of service, rather than on the average salary earned in the final three years.

Under the measure proposed by County Executive Roger B. Hayden, all county elected officials, department heads and about 900 other employees, including the county administrator and supervisory, managerial and confidential service personnel, would be eligible.

It also is being offered to five other labor unions and has often been discussed in the past as a way to attract and keep quality managers.

But the plan is expected to cost Baltimore County $516,000 in five years, and council members expressed concern about increasing the pension costs for the county's top officials at time when the government is denying cost-of-living raises to employees.

Council members get a pension of 20 percent of their final average compensation after four years of service, 40 percent after eight years, 60 percent after 12 years and 80 percent after 16 years.

Council members contribute 13.8 percent of their salaries to the pension system and become eligible for their pensions when they either reach 55 or complete 16 years of service.

Council members now earn $30,900, are due to see a raise to $32,700 in December, and will get 5.7 percent raises each year after that as part of a salary package approved by a previous council.

Mr. Hayden is receiving $75,920 because when he ran for office, he agreed to accept only the $73,000 pay that the job paid at the time, and has since told county workers he would only accept the same 4 percent raise they received in January. But because of built-in annual pay raises of about $5,000, the position will pay $100,700 by December 1993.

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