Ocean City Today

County sacrifices longevity bonuses for increased COLA

Request for more hiring largely ignored in budget proposal under evaluation
By Brian Gilliland | May 11, 2017

(May 12, 2017) Worcester County government employees are set to see a pay increase once the budget is ratified in June as well as a one percent cost-of-living adjustment at the expense of longevity bonuses.

After 20 years of service, a county employee would receive a $500 longevity bonus, with the amount increasing every five years served thereafter. The bonuses, Human Resources Director Stacey Norton said, were taxed at a different rate than regular pay. The commissioners agreed the one-percent bump is more meaningful in terms of take-home pay and benefits like retirement contributions, and so discontinued the longevity program in order to fund the cost-of-living adjustment.

The commissioners also granted some hiring requests as they reviewed the proposed budget on Tuesday, and discussed a few more in closed session after the public portion of the meeting concluded. Included in those talks were two part-time positions, one for tourism and another for economic development, but no further details are available.

The Sheriff’s Office requested three new full-time deputies along with four new part-time positions to help with staffing the circuit court, but only one full-time position was granted.

Also granted was Treasurer Phil Thompson’s request for one full-time and one part-time document imager, as the county moves from paper to digital backups for documents.

The roads department, which, according to manager Frank Adkins, has shrunk from 49 to 34 employees in the last decade, asked for four new employees and got approval for one.

Two park department positions were added, one general purpose and one stationed at the county boat ramp, which is going to be offset by the elimination of one vacant part-time position currently on the books, according to Norton.

Two employees, one full time and one part time, were hired to staff the new Berlin Library, when it is built in the latter part of FY 2018.

Economic Development had a proposed business development coordinator position axed, and the water department had its request cut in half from two positions down to one.

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