Advertisement
Baltimore County

More than 800 Baltimore County employees didn’t receive cost-of-living raises they were due, IG finds

More than 800 Baltimore County employees did not receive cost-of-living raises they were due in January because of an “antiquated compensation system,” the county’s inspector general found.

The oversight by Democratic County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s administration affected 838 nonunion employees across departments. They include clerks, administrative aides, office assistants, social workers, nursing assistants and security officers.

Advertisement

Inspector General Kelly Madigan’s office launched an investigation after receiving a complaint in February that certain clerical employees in the county’s Department of Recreation and Parks had been unfairly excluded from a 2% pay increase, according to her report released this week. The complainant referenced an email from Olszewski to county employees about funding cost-of-living adjustments in his budget.

Madigan’s investigation found that the 838 county workers were not purposely excluded, but “had the misfortune of falling into a particular subcategory of employees on a particular pay schedule.”

Advertisement

The county has 13 pay schedules, covering both union and nonunion employees, as well as both “merit” and “non-merit” employees. The affected employees were non-merit employees assigned to Pay Schedule VI.

The inspector general’s investigations have been a source of political tension in county government.

In a written response to Madigan, County Administrative Officer Stacy Rodgers took issue with Madigan investigating the matter. She wrote that “this issue is clearly an operational matter, with no issues of fraud, abuse or illegal acts.”

The Morning Sun

The Morning Sun

Daily

Get your morning news in your e-mail inbox. Get all the top news and sports from the baltimoresun.com.

“As we have often agreed, we mutually seek to find ways to promote efficiency, accountability and integrity,” Rodgers wrote. “As this is an operational issue, I believe that there should be opportunities to discuss matters like this as opposed to handling through an investigative process.”

Rodgers wrote that the county administration already knew about the issue prior to Madigan’s report. The matter “is part of a larger systemic issue” that county officials have been working on, she wrote. The county has developed a formal pay schedule for non-merit employees that will take effect in July, when the county plans to transition to the human resources software Workday.

In response, Madigan wrote that, during an April 6 interview, a senior member of the county administration had only learned days before that a significant number of employees had been excluded from the raise.

“Therefore, while the Office does appreciate the efforts by the Administration to reform human resources within the County, it appears that this particular issue had not been elevated to all relevant parties at the highest levels of the Administration until the Office began its investigation,” Madigan wrote.

Also, Madigan wrote, when the complainant asked their department and the county human resources office about the issue, “no clear and adequate justification for the exclusion was given.”

Advertisement

In her report, Madigan recommended that the administration devise a plan for how the employees “can be made whole.”

Asked Tuesday whether the employees would receive back pay, a spokeswoman for Olszewski pointed to a line in Rodgers’ response saying the January 2% cost-of-living raise is under review as part of the wider look at human-resources issues.


Advertisement