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County payroll may grow by 30

March 14, 1998

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

The Washington County Commissioners should add about 30 full-time employees to the payroll, according to county officials.

The additions would be partially offset by eliminating eight vacant full-time and two part-time positions, Washington County Human Resources Director Alan J. Davis said Thursday.

The net increase in next year's budget would be $363,000, but the cost in future years would be higher because not all of the employees would be hired July 1, the start of the budget year.

Most of the new employees would be hired in the Sheriff's Department or the State's Attorney's office.

Ten new correctional deputies were recommended for the Washington County Detention Center, which has seen its average daily population rise from 375 to 425 over the past year.

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Another eight patrol deputies were recommended at the Sheriff's Department. The deputies' salaries and benefits would be 75 percent funded by a federal grant for three years, Sheriff Charles F. Mades said.

Two office associates and an additional assistant state's attorney were recommended for the State's Attorney's office.

New positions were also recommended in purchasing, human resources, in the 911 system and at the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

Two new positions were recommended at the Water and Sewer Department, and two positions were recommended at the Roads Department if responsibility for Fort Ritchie upkeep falls to the county Oct. 1.

Four of the vacant positions to be eliminated are in the Washington County Housing Authority, two are at the county landfill and one is at Black Rock Golf Course. Cutbacks would also be made at Washington County Regional Airport and in Permits & Inspections.

County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop said he decided not to recommend that the commissioners fund a five-man crew to maintain the more than 200 stormwater management ponds the county owns. Shoop said it's possible that a joint authority with the City of Hagerstown or privatizing the maintenance might make more sense.

Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said he disagreed with Shoop and implored the commissioners to take another look at funding the crew.

Many of the ponds are in a state of disrepair, some with sinkholes and others with trees growing in them, Rohrer and Transportation Superintendent J. Theodore Wolford said.

Davis also recommended that the commissioners fund $485,000 in other personnel requests, including:

* $69,700 to hire four private security guards to monitor metal detectors at county courts.

* $60,560 in overtime and election-related expenses at the Election Board.

* $100,000 to provide a shift differential to Sheriff's Department employees.

* $80,000 for seasonal snow removal workers.

* $48,000 to add two prison work crews.

The commissioners discussed a possible pay raise for county employees but no specific recommendation was made, Shoop said. Each percentage point increase costs about $130,000, he said.

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