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Montgomery College employees get bonuses not raises

Local,Maryland,Education,Rachel Baye

Employees of Montgomery College will receive 2-percent bonuses between now and June 30, but they face a fourth year -- some a fifth year -- without pay raises.

The bonuses are part of agreements reached with the college's three unions, college President DeRionne Pollard said in a letter sent to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council. Non-union employees also will receive the bonuses.

"It's a modest step," said Christopher Honey, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 500. "We still feel that more can be done to be honor the working contributions of adjunct faculty."

Administrators have not had pay raises since 2008, while other employees have gone since 2009 without salary increases, Pollard said.

The bonuses will cost the college $2.8 million, said Montgomery College spokeswoman Elizabeth Homan, which the college will be able to cover without asking the county for an increase in the $217 million portion of the college's fiscal 2013 operating budget that is supported by taxpayers.

However, the agreements on both bonuses and salary increases may not be set in stone just yet. If the county government or Montgomery County Public Schools gives employees a greater total increase in employee compensation, Montgomery College's agreements with its unions -- the American Association of University Professors, SEIU and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- automatically go back to the bargaining table, Homan said.

The county government is still negotiating its union contracts, said Office of Human Resources Director Joseph Adler, who declined to comment further.

But over the last few months, several county officials have emphasized a desire to raise employees' pay after years of stagnant compensation.

"We've not been able to do anything on compensation in a few years, and that concerns the county executive," Leggett spokesman Patrick Lacefield told The Washington Examiner earlier this month.

Leggett and Lacefield did not return requests for comment.

In her letter, Pollard also introduced a new program that encourages employees eligible for retirement to give the college an estimate of when they plan to retire.

With 27 percent of the college's 1,800 full-time staff, faculty and administrators eligible for retirement in the coming fiscal year, Pollard is trying to ensure that employees filling the positions left vacant by retirees are able to transition easily, Homan said. In exchange for filling the college in on their plans, retirement-eligible employees will receive a financial incentive.

The details of the program are still being sorted out, Homan said.

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