Police in Montgomery County will get a 2.1 percent pay raise, their first in four years, the county police union announced Monday.
Under a newly ratified agreement, all members of the Fraternal Order of Police will receive the raise July 1, the beginning of the county's fiscal year. Union members who are not already at the top of their pay grades -- roughly two-thirds -- also will receive a 1.75 percent step increase in February, followed by another step increase in the second year of the contract.
"This is a very affordable, progressive increase. It is not perfect, but we will continue to monitor the economy," said FOP President Torrie Cooke. "It is critical to morale on the force for our officers to keep pace with inflation and their peers in neighboring jurisdictions."
The announcement follows a pay raise secured recently by the county's firefighters. All firefighters will receive 2.75 percent, while roughly 60 percent of county firefighters will get an additional 3.25 percent step increase each year of a three-year contract, said county spokesman Patrick Lacefield.
A representative of the county's chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters could not be reached for comment.
Last month, the county agreed to a 6.75 percent pay raise for county government employees who are members of the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization, or MCGEO, as well as step increases for some union members over each of the next two years. Those employees who receive all of the raises will see a 13.5 percent pay bump.
All three unions have seen four straight years without pay increases. Last year, employees received $2,000 bonuses instead of raises.
But all of the pay raises come at a time when the county is facing a $134 million budget hole in fiscal 2014 -- without factoring in the increased salaries and pensions. That shortfall has all county departments looking at budget cuts of 5 percent.
When MCGEO's pay raise was announced -- before both the police's and firefighters' raises -- lawmakers questioned how County Executive Ike Leggett would pay for it and balance the budget. Councilman Phil Andrews, D-Gaithersburg/Rockville, called the deal with MCGEO "excessive, unsustainable and irresponsible."
"If [Leggett's] earlier indications about the budget are true, the money to pay for these pay increases will directly compete with funding for important services," he said.
Leggett is scheduled to release his budget proposal for fiscal 2014 on Friday.