BY BRYNA ZUMER, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:53 AM EST, December 16, 2011
Harford County employees will be getting at least half of their scheduled bonuses, $625, before the end of the year, although the rest of it is still up in the air.
The Harford County Council approved the first portion of the bonus late Tuesday evening, but not before passing a number of amendments.
"It allows the county executive to move forward on his proposal with his payment, as you want to call it now, with the first installment [in December] but before moving forward with what he projects [in June] … we ask that he present to us another transfer request at that time that the budget is in front of us so we can see what budget impact if any this has on us," Council President Billy Boniface said.
He added he wants to "ensure we don't have to increase the tax burden on our constituents."
Councilman Chad Shrodes abstained from the entire vote because he said his wife is a Harford County Public Library employee.
Councilman Dion Guthrie abstained from the first set of amendments, which dealt with the delay of payment, because he said he wanted to see the employees get their bonus as quickly as possible.
Other amendments also changed the wording in the bill from "one-time bonus" to "payment."
Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti said those amendments were the result of intense negotiation with unions and will allow all teachers to receive their bonuses.
Randy Cerveny, of the Harford County Education Association, thanked the council for the move.
"Thank you for all the work you've done to make sure all Harford educators benefit from the county surplus," he said.