Most Harford County employees will be getting a 4 percent raise by the end of the year, a measure the Harford County Council approved unanimously Tuesday night.
The merit increase was proposed by Harford County Executive David Craig and supported by several county unions. Besides county government employees, the raises will also go to Harford County Sheriff's Office and Harford County Public Library employees.
The increase will be retroactive to July 1.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti and Councilman Jim McMahan said they were sorry that some employees were not able to be included.
"It is a bit regrettable to me that we were unable to do this across the board as a [cost-of-living increase], had to approve it [as] merit increases, leaving about 96 employees out of the mix," Lisanti said, adding she hopes the county can resolve those issues.
McMahan said: "It bothers me to an extent that people fell through the crack somehow, and I hope we can find a way to address that."
Originally, 197 employees didn't quality, Lisanti said, but the council closed some gaps so more would be eligible.
She also said sheriff's office employees had to get the raises as COLAs, not merit raises.
Lisanti said it has nevertheless been "a long four years" without any raises for employees and she hopes this will help "get us through the storm."
Councilman Dion Guthrie said: "It's a long time coming, took us a long time to get to this point and it certainly will have my vote and hopefully [we] won't have to wait so long for the next one."
The employees who don't qualify for the raises are scattered over 15 departments and won't get them because they didn't fit criteria of the bill, such as those who got a merit raises within the last year that weren't tied to a promotion and anyone who did not receive a "meets standards" evaluation for the period that ended March 31, 2012.
Janet Schaub, the deputy director of human resources, said Wednesday that the majority of those who won't get the raise fall into the latter category.