Arundel budget options draw mixed worker votes Choices: wage cuts, layoffs, unpaid days

November 06, 1991|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Anne Arundel Bureau of The Sun

ANNAPOLIS -- Offered a choice of a 3 percent wage cut, five unpaid holidays or layoffs to help balance the county's budget, Anne Arundel County employees handed in a mixed response yesterday.

County Executive Robert R. Neall had given the county's six employee unions until yesterday to choose among the options as part of his $20.8 million budget cutting plan.

Unions representing sheriff's deputies, professional firefighters and police officers have opted for the five days of leave without pay.

But the union that represents clerical employees preferred the 3 percent wage cut as did a majority of two employee groups that are not represented by unions -- contract workers and middle-level managers, said Louise Hayman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Neall.

The county's largest non-school union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 582, which represents about 900 blue-collar workers, has not expressed its preference.

Union officials said a vote was held Monday but procedural challenges could force another vote.

Members of the Fraternal Order of Anne Arundel Detention Center Officers and Personnel refused to choose. Mr. Neall had warned that such a response would be construed as a vote for layoffs and, as a result of their actions, three of the union's 100 members will get pink slips this week, Ms. Hayman said.

Unions representing teachers and other school system employees are scheduled to respond today to a school board plan that would force them to take four furlough days.

Meanwhile, aides to Mr. Neall said he has not decided how to react to the County Council's decision Monday to approve legislation giving the council broader authority in the budget cutting process.

That new authority would allow the council to restore some or all of the employee wage concessions proposed by Mr. Neall.

Administration officials have questioned the legality of the council's actions, and Mr. Neall has said he may veto the bill.

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