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Montgomery County Employees Could See First Pay Raises in 4 Years

County Council panels vote to back pay bumps for government and public safety workers.

A freeze in cost-of-living raises for Montgomery County government and public safety employees may be thawing out. The Montgomery County Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy committees voted unanimously Thursday to back a proposal to raise county employees’ salaries by up to 3.25 percent.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) negotiated the raises as part of new two-year contracts with employees’ unions and

If approved as part of the county budget, the 3.25 percent raise for county government workers would go into effect in September. Police officers would see a 2.1 percent bump in July. Fire and rescue personnel would see a 2.75 percent increase in July. All three groups have not had a base pay increase in four years, The Examiner reported last month.

Regular salary increases for years of service had also been frozen. Under the plan recommended Thursday, those step increases would resume for eligible employees, a County Council news release said. Public safety officers would receive retroactive increases next year—1.75 percent for police in February and 3.5 percent for fire and rescue next April.

The measure goes to the full council April 30, where it is likely to face opposition from Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg, who is running for County Executive next year. Andrews has said he'd rather see the money go to a reduction in an energy tax for homeowners. 

“Pay raises of the level agreed to by Mr. Leggett are unnecessary, unsustainable and will crowd out both needed services and needed reductions in the energy tax, which comprises 10 percent of most homeowners’ bill for energy and, in many cases, cost businesses many thousands of dollars, hurting their competitiveness,” Andrews said earlier this month.

This article has been updated from its original version to reflect that it has been four years since county employees, police and fire and rescue have had a raise.

Brigitta Mullican April 28, 2013 at 02:21 AM
How does that raise compare to what the Federal and State employees got? I didn't get a COLA in a couple of years, but all my taxes and fees increased.
Dan April 28, 2013 at 04:48 AM
Taxes went up on those of us making $150K+ in order to pay your govt. salary, Brigitta. I'm certainly fine with carrying the weight, but middle class America whining about taxes rubs me the wrong way. Your tax burden is lower than just about any point in our country's history - you pay for the tiniest fraction everything around you and the rest is paid by the wealthy or put on the debt. Yet everyone in America thinks they're entitled to everything for free. It's awful. Tea Party entitlement and whiny liberal entitlement are the same damn thing. Everyone needs to pay their damn share and stop whining about taxes 25 times a day.
Michael Smith April 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Seriously Dan? Lowest tax burden in our country's history? Our taxes have actually increased once you account for the value of the dollar over time. http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/taxmageddon.png The middle class now pays 16.5% more in taxes AFTER adjusting for inflation than they paid 40 years ago. That is 16.% less income they have to feed their families, that is 16.5% more money the government has taken from them with no "real" alternative (no, telling people to just leave the country doesn't work in a world where you have roots and families and can't even afford to just take off). The reality is that the majority of Americans are living hand to mouth because pay has been stagnate for the past decade, because we buy from corporations that don't give a shit about the quality of life of their employees, and because we already overpay our public sector. I find it fascinating that this article doesn't say how much the average Montgomery County employee makes currently, I'm sure it's above what they would get in the private sector after you factor in all the benefits. I'm also sure those retroactive pay raises are going to result in increased taxes for the rest of us, given that it's retroactive and it's a huge leap given their already high incomes. I'm more than willing to pay my fair share, but when they're already taking up to 90% of my income in taxes and rent alone, I have to call BS given how much we're already getting taxed.
Dan April 28, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Huh? Michael, the chart you show points out that taxes have been falling for decades - especially for the uber-wealthy (you know, that whole "trickle down" idea that supposedly works - haha). Which I believe everyone has known about for a long time now, but seems to run counter to your point. Compare taxes in the 80s to today. Clinton and now Obama have tried to get taxes on the wealthiest ($400k+) up a bit (Clinton's effort undone by Bush, as the chart shows), but across the board taxes are way lower these days. Supposedly because low taxes - especially on the uber-wealthy "job creators" (haha) increases economic growth. "Trickle down" crap that's been proven 100% wrong, repeatedly, at this point. Anyways, I think your facts are showing the opposite of what you're claiming. Tax burden is less today for every single person in America than at any point since the late 60s.
Sean R. Sedam April 29, 2013 at 06:49 PM
@CityRat2013: Thanks for the note. The original published version of the article mentioned that police had gone four years without a raise. That is true for fire and rescue and for county employees as well—a fact that was omitted due to an editing error (mine). It's there now, along with a note at the bottom to clarify.

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