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.