By Adam Pagnucco.
In a blast email sent to county employees on Saturday night, County Executive Marc Elrich announced an end to the county’s COVID emergency pay program. The pay program, initiated in March of last year and providing some classifications of county employees an extra $3-10 per hour, was the most generous of its kind in the region and possibly one of the most generous in the nation. To illustrate its magnitude, Park and Planning – which has about one-ninth of the employees of county government – spent $400,917 on COVID pay while the county to date has spent more than $80 million. According to Elrich, the program will be replaced with a service increment (which in the past equated to a 3.5% increase for eligible employees), a longevity increase and a 1.5% general wage adjustment, both starting in the current fiscal year. That means most county employees will be receiving 5% raises with possibly more coming in the FY22 budget.
Elrich’s blast email is reprinted below.
From: MCG.Postmaster MCG.Postmaster@montgomerycountymd.gov
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2021
To: #MCG_All <#MCG_All@montgomerycountymd.gov>
Subject: A Message from the County Executive
Dear Montgomery County Government family,
I am inspired by the outstanding work of Montgomery County employees each and every day as we navigate the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Countless dedicated County employees have risked their personal safety to continue to deliver the services necessary for our residents in response to the pandemic. In recognition of their work, the County has provided differential pay for all eligible County employees whose jobs have required in-person work. Because of the work and commitment of so many of you, we have been able to keep the county running throughout this pandemic.
Earlier today, my leadership team reached an agreement with our three employee bargaining units to restore some of the compensation increases that were not approved by the County Council last spring as the first wave of COVID hit our community. I am pleased to inform you that the agreement calls for service increments and longevity steps to start with the April 11th pay period. For all eligible employees whose anniversary dates were earlier in the fiscal year, their increments will begin with the April 11th pay period. The increase will not be retroactive. If your anniversary date is later in the fiscal year, the increment will begin during the appropriate later pay period. In addition, a 1.5% General Wage Adjustment for all employees, including unrepresented employees, will go into effect starting with the June 20th pay period. Finally, the agreement ends the hazard pay differential beginning tomorrow, February 14th. While this is short notice for this change in current policy, this deal provides every employee with the certainty of a permanent adjustment to their salaries.
This agreement will need to be approved by the County Council before it is formally adopted, but I am confident the Councilmembers will swiftly act to approve this measured proposal. Thank you again for your commitment to the health and safety of our residents as well as your commitment to your colleagues. With this deal, we can focus our attention and resources on building a stronger, fairer, and more successful Montgomery County for all.
With gratitude for all you have done and continue to do.
Montgomery County Executive