By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun
6:46 PM EST, November 21, 2011
Three of five unions representing Harford County schools employees have agreed to a contract change that would allow for the $1,250 bonuses proposed by County Executive Daniel R. Craig earlier this month.
Craig presented legislation to the County Council to approve, giving all county employees a check for $625 in December and a second check the last week of June.
The County Council will hear public testimony and is expected to make a decision Dec. 6.
The Board of Education has to change existing contracts with five employee unions to distribute the bonuses, if the council approves the measure.
The school board has a memorandum of understanding with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; the Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors of Harford County; and the Association of Harford County Administrative, Technical and Supervisory Professionals.
The union representing 3,200 school system employees, the Harford County Education Association, has not responded to the agreement.
The association president, Randy Cerveny, said the group did "not negotiate with the board of education yet. Just because it's a request of the county executive doesn't guarantee it will pass."
He added, "We will be glad to meet and talk with them once the money becomes available."
Earlier this year, the union, which represents 3,200 teachers and other school system employees, had a tentative agreement providing teachers a 2 percent cost-of-living raise, as well as some step raises.
That deal, however, fell through when Craig and the council declined to increase county school budget funding enough to pay for the raises.
The Harford County Educational Services Council, which represents more than 900 instructional support, nurses and clerical professionals in the county, are waiting to sign the agreement after the measure receives council approval, according to a news release from the school board.
While other municipalities look for ways to slash budgets, Harford County amassed a $32 million surplus, which Craig said should go to employees who endured furlough days, wage freezes, and increases in health care and pension costs.
Craig's spokesman, Bob Thomas, explained that the county will pay out the bonuses whether the school board contracts are changed, if the council approves of the bonuses.
The Aegis contributed to this article.
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