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25% of County Employees Receive Pay Raises

Three of Anne Arundel County's 13 unions will receive their first pay increases in more than four years.

About 25 percent of Anne Arundel County's employees will receive pay raises for the first time in four years thanks to a unanimous vote by the County Council on Monday.

The 3 percent pay increase—which will cost the county $650,000—goes to approximately 1,200 employees who are members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 70, AFSCME Local 582 and AFSCME Local 2563.

"The last four years, to say the least, have been extremely difficult," said Mike Akers, president of AFSCME Local 582.

Akers testified before Council that his members have accepted years without cost of living increases and a growing number of furlough days.

The vote itself was a formality because Maryland's Court of Appeals restored binding arbitration to the county in September—making the Council legally bound by the May decision of a third-party mediator to give the three unions a pay increase.

The Council tried to end binding arbitration in March 2011 by passing a bill that would have required the Council to approve all decisions made by third-party mediators.

Councilman John Grasso (R-2nd District) took a moment before the pro forma vote to point out the county's $500 million debt.

"Just understand that the money that you will get if this bill passes is borrowed money. It’s money on a charge card," Grasso said. "We are running off of our own little fiscal cliff."

The bill does save the county $200,000 per year by reducing FOP employees' weapons allowance from $780 to $425.

The remaining 75 percent of county employees—including firefighters and police who serve in management positions—will not see pay increases this year.

"[This bill] is not fair and equitable to all employees," said Justin Duncan, a county police fleet coordinator. "It will create a destructive division between those county employees given the 3 percent increase and those not given [an increase]."

He asked the Council to expand the raises to all county employees—including nearly 1,000 workers who are not members of any union.

The Council opted not amend the bill, but Council Chair Jerry Walker (R-7th District) believes all employees will likely see a pay increase next spring.

"It's certainly going to impact upcoming negotiations," Walker said. "Next year, I'm sure everybody will come to the table and say, 'the starting point is what you gave FOP mid-cycle.'"

TJ December 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Why should public servents get paid more, more benifits, job for life, than the people who pay their wages. Union officals are making a lot of money off the dues and a cut of everything. Raises should be for performance not automatic. The County and State should have a right to weed out the weak links and get rid of them without Union input.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 11:16 PM
HT, why do I have the sneaky feeling that Council Members didn't miss a raise?
Hey Deb December 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM
TJ, they should't. these "positions" are so close to Elected Officials it's sickening! It's Corruption, Greed, and the Entitlement Gang, and no one can tell me any different. I think Unions should be done away with! Union I was with didn't do me any favors! However, they sure did want their dues paid! I said in an earlier comment that raises should be on MERIT, not one of those across the board deals. The ONLY people IMHO that should have a Union Rep but not a full solid Union are Police officers and members of the Fire Dept/Emts however, that can run into problems as well, as so many with the Fire Dept are Volunteers. I keep yeling Evil, Corruption, Greed, however, I am not off base with this. Also, it HAS come down to the Entitlement issue...I DID NOT want to bring Politics into this, but BOTH parties have not helped in this, in fact, they have made it worse..and shoot, they are the WORSE example of lining pockets in existence...Unions lobby the Elected Official for their specific State, and the Kick backs start right there.....it's a huge problem, just a problem people don't stop and think about, OR do not care about. BTW: Michigan...the Auto Workers Union..the people that are with the union..WANT OUT....Looks like the Union is going down there..and Michigan will start the transition to RIGHT TO WORK. It's a dirty business, it really is.
Jake March 16, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Lets not forget what arbitration is in the first place. A NEUTRAL third party looks at both sides of the impasse and decides which deal is the most fair. You can't just assume that the arbirator will always side with the union. In reality the unions lose arbitration just as much as they win. The only reason for the county to attempt to remove binding arbitration is so that they can propose any offer they want to our public safety unions without any intention to negotiate in good faith, and no worry of repercussion.
Maryellen Brady March 17, 2013 at 03:28 AM
I love unions. They help , the govt WE THE PEOPLE do the moral and right thing in respecting workers for their productivity. They speak for those who would otherwise be silent or afraid. They have lead the way to the 40 hour work week, paid vacation days, fair living wages.. It is disgusting that the private sector has sunk so low and disrespected the backbones of most companies (workers) a big defense contractor who is making record profits and shipping money out of country to avoid taxes has just cut out sick days for their employees. So, now the employees go to work sick or deprive their families. The middle class is shrinking because FAIRNESS is no longer the goal in the work place, it is all about making a few rich and powerful. Adam Smith's capitalism was good for all, there was a legitimate SHARING OF THE WEALTH of productiviy, and as he said out of land, labor and capital, labor is the greates wealth of a nation.

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