2 percent raise proposed for county employees Altered health plan part of package

September 14, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

County Executive Robert R. Neall is offering the county's 4,000 employees a 2 percent pay raise, their first increase in 2 1/2 years, as part of a package being negotiated this week that includes modified health insurance coverage.

The pay increase will cover only six months, taking effect Jan. 1 and running until the end of the fiscal year on June 30. It is expected to cost the county $4.5 million, $1.8 million for general county employees and $2.7 million for school system workers, bTC said Louise Hayman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Neall.

Mr. Neall said in May that he would consider granting such a pay raise if the county's financial situation improved after the first six months of the fiscal year. The final figures from the 1993 fiscal year, which ended in June, are due in by the end of this week, and county officials expect there will be enough of a surplus to pay for the salary increase.

In May, the County Council voted to cut enough money from both the general county operating budget and the school board budget to give county employees a 3 percent pay raise. At the time, Mr. Neall angrily denounced the move, saying that the council's action, which included dropping the property tax rate by 8 cents, actually jeopardized a pay raise he was planning to give employees in January if there was sufficient revenue.

Along with the pay raise, the county has negotiated a managed care health plan with its employees that should reduce its expenses for health insurance. Under this plan, county employees go to a designated group of doctors who have agreed to provide lower fees. The negotiations should be completed by Friday, and the package will have to be approved by the council.

The negotiations are being conducted for the county by Peter Saucier, a lawyer with the Baltimore firm of Coleman & Sheehan, the first time the county has used a labor negotiator from the private sector. The position of labor relations director, which had been held by Michael J. Milanowski, was eliminated in Mr. Neall's reorganization of county government earlier this year.

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