Ocean City Today

Worcester boosts funding for turkey, ham bonus by half

By Brian Gilliland | Oct 26, 2017

(Oct. 27, 2017) The Worcester County Commissioners took a few moments during last week’s regular meeting to talk turkey (or ham) with regard to county employees.

For the past several years, Assistant County Administrator Kelly Shannahan said, the county gave employees $20 gift cards to be used toward the purchase of a holiday ham or turkey at area Wal-Mart stores.

Shannahan also said the county now employs 660 people, so the starting cost of this program is $13,200.

Last year, Shannahan said, a commissioner wondered if $20 was enough to purchase a protein suitable to feed a family.

Shannahan’s investigation revealed that it was not.

“Upon a quick search of the Wal-Mart website, large whole turkeys (16 to 24 pounds) are selling for $1.28 per pound (roughly $20 to $30 each) while whole hams (18 to 22 pounds) are selling for $1.48 per pound (roughly $26 to $32 each) and spiral cut hams (9 to 11 pounds) are selling for $2.38 per pound (roughly $21 to $26 each),” Shannahan wrote in a memo to County Administrator Harold Higgins.

“So it would appear that $20 may no longer be sufficient to cover the cost of a turkey or ham.”

Shannahan suggested increasing the gift card to either $25 or $30.

At $25 per the 660 county workers, the total cost of the cards becomes $16,500 and at $30 each, the cost comes to $19,800.

Shannahan noted there were sufficient funds in a county account to cover the cost at either funding level.

“Please review this matter with the commissioners and advise so that I may begin making the necessary preparations as soon as possible,” he wrote.

During the public session, Commissioner Chip Bertino moved to approve funding at the $30 level, which was approved unanimously by the board.

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