The following letter was disseminated by Harford County Executive David Craig on Wednesday to all Harford County employees. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
Dear Fellow County Employee:
For last four years, you have been patient and dutiful in working for the citizens of this great county, and during that time, you have been asked to trim budgets and make personal sacrifices to help get this county through these very tough economic times. Your hard work and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed. I have been closely monitoring the county’s revenue projections and comparing them with actual revenue numbers year after year.
Last year we were able to provide a small bonus with the promise that if we maintained our budget the next year, that we would look to providing a pay raise. I am pleased to announce to you that the Department of Human Resources has reached an agreement with our unions to provide our employees with a 4% merit increase. A copy of that agreement is attached to this e-mail.
It is our intent to have this raise take effect in December, and make it retroactive to July 1, 2012. The back pay will be included in a normal pay check, so it will be taxed at regular rates and not at the special pay tax rate at which the bonus was taxed. In an effort to be equitable, we have reached out to the allied agencies which did not fund pay increases this year to help them offer a similar package to their employees. As this plan will require County Council approval, I will be sending over legislation tomorrow for their consideration.
The merit increase will be provided to those employees who received a “meets standards” on their last annual evaluation, which covered the period ending March 31,2012. If an employee was not evaluated, or if an employee was not eligible to be evaluated because the employee was not off of probation by the end of the evaluation period, then the employee may not receive the raise consistent with §38-32 B. Employees are eligible for this raise regardless of whether they are classified, exempt, grant funded, or temporary.
This raise is possible for a number of reasons. First, our ability to grow and diversify Harford’s economy has been evidenced in increases in income tax revenues to which we credit a majority of these small, yet sustained revenue increases. Equally important is that our employees have done a yeoman’s job at looking for efficiencies and making do with less. I am pleased that we can finally reward those efforts.
While this is good news, we are not out of the woods just yet. I still remain vigilant and concerned with the fragile nature of our nation’s economy and the slow steps that have been taken towards recovery. More important is the state’s continued habit of passing unfunded mandates to the counties. We will continue to struggle to come to terms with the full impacts of those actions by our state leaders.
Thank you for being patient with me and my administration as we have weathered some pretty tough times. It’s about time, this is for you.
David R. Craig