Montgomery County employees forgo raises for another year

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Local,News,Maryland,Rachel Baye

Montgomery County government employees will receive a $2,000 bonus — adjusted for part-time employees — but no wage increases in the coming fiscal year, following an agreement reached between union and county officials.

The union's membership still needs to approve the agreement before it can be considered final.

The agreement makes fiscal 2013 the fourth year without wage increases for the members of the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization, a branch of the United Food and Commercial Workers. However, the three-year contract includes an opportunity for the union to renegotiate wages for fiscal 2014 and 2015, said union President Gino Renne.

Forgoing wage increases gives the county flexibility to reassess its fiscal situation in a year, said county Human Resources Director Joseph Adler.

The county is anticipating a $135.4 million budget gap in fiscal 2013, assuming no employees in the county government, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools or the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission get raises.

Given the county's current fiscal situation, Renne said he was happy with the bonus, at least for now. "For FY '14 and '15, our hope — everyone's hope — is that the county's revenue resources will improve and people will start receiving regular raises again."

The agreement also includes a 3-percent step increase for employees who have been with the county for 21 years and a promise by the county to consider a shift for some employees from a 401(k) plan to a plan that is half-pension and half 401(k).

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