Executive dangles possibility of raises for county workers

May 17, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

Pay raises could be in store for county employees after all.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann said last week that raises will be awarded if county department chiefs are able to save enough money in their budgets over the next six weeks and the County Council raises license and other fees.

At least one council member criticized Rehrmann's proposal.

"I'm suspecting we have a political game of baseball between the executive and the council president," said Joanne S. Parrott, R-District B. "And it's taking place at the expense of the employees and citizens of Harford County and it's got to stop."

Parrott was referring to the fact that Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson was among the council members who voted against Rehrmann's original proposal to raise license and other fees. Wilson has drafted his own fee-raising bill and is scheduled to introduce the legislation Tuesday.

"I don't think we need a fee bill at all, I think the money can be found elsewhere in the budget," said Parrott.

County employees did not receive raises in the current budget year, and money for raises was not included in Rehrmann's fiscal 1993 operating budget proposal being reviewed by the council.

In a May 13 memo to county department chiefs, Rehrmann said about $2.5 million is needed to restore step pay increases or

provide other salary "enhancements" for all eligible county employees, including teachers, library workers and Harford Community College employees.

Rehrmann's original fee bill would have raised $500,000 in new revenue.

"During the peak of this recession, our first priority has been to preserve jobs, avoiding layoffs and other extreme measures," Rehrmann wrote in the memo.

"Following this, our priority must be to do whatever we can to provide the means to restore merit and step increases, or other salary adjustments. To do this, I am challenging each of you as department heads and managers to save whatever dollars you can during the last six weeks of FY 1992."

If the county can't afford full step increases, employees may still get some raise, she said.

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