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County employees to get bonuses

June 08, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to use pension fund money to give the county's 538 full-time employees a one-time bonus ranging from $750 to $1,250.

The $574,500 cost for the bonuses would come from a portion of the $1 million designated as the fiscal 1999 grant to the Maryland State Pension and Retirement System program, Human Resources Director Alan J. Davis said.

The rest of the money, an estimated $425,500, would be used to pay for fiscal 2000 Capital Improvement Program projects. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Commissioner William J. Wivell said the hope is that the contribution will reduce the amount of bond money needed next fiscal year to pay for the programs.

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Under the plan, employees who have worked for the county for fewer than three years will receive bonuses of $750. Those who have been employed by the county for from three to 10 years will receive $1,000 bonuses. Those who have worked for the county for more than 10 years will get $1,250.

Although they voted for the proposal, Commissioners Bert L. Iseminger and Paul L. Swartz initially said they supported a lump sum bonus of $1,000 or $1,250 for all employees.

Commissioner John L. Schnebly said it seemed more appropriate to reward those employees who have been with the county, and participated in the pension program, longer.

The county's retirement actuary supports using the county's annual payment to the program for this purpose, Davis said.

The pension program is overfunded because of the strong economy, he said.

"This is sharing our good fortunes with our employees," Davis said.

Earlier this year, the commissioners rejected Davis' suggestion that all employees be given an 8 percent raise, opting instead to give them about a 5 percent pay hike.

When some changes in employee benefits are taken into consideration, however, the salary hike on average works out to closer to 1 percent to 3 percent, Davis said.

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