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Proposed budget would give Washington County employees $600 stipend

March 27, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Washington County employees would get a one-time $600 stipend instead of raises this July under the proposed county general fund budget, officials said Tuesday.

This would be employees’ fourth year in a row without cost-of-living or step increases, which were last given in July 2009, county Budget and Finance Director Debra S. Murray said.

In addition, county employees would get one additional paid personal day off, Murray said.

The news was part of a presentation Murray made to the Washington County Board of Commissioners about the draft general fund budget for fiscal 2013, which begins July 1.

The $600 stipend will cost the county $325,000 — the same amount it would cost to give all employees a 2 percent raise, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said.

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Officials recommended the one-time distribution instead of regular raises because they were uncertain whether the county would be able to continue the higher pay rates in future years, he said.

By dividing the money equally, “obviously if you make less, that’s a higher percentage of your pay; if you make more, it’s a lower percentage, but at least everyone gets an equivalent amount,” Gregory Murray said.

“That’s fair, we feel, given the amount of time that’s gone by” since the last raises, he said.

Officials recommend giving the money in one chunk, instead of dividing it over a year’s worth of paychecks, so “they actually have some cash in their hand to be able to do something with,” Gregory Murray said.

The county commissioners are not included among the employees who would receive the stipend, he said.

A public hearing on the budget is tentatively scheduled for May 8 at 7 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College’s Kepler Theater.

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