Baltimore Co. looks at bonuses promised to police, firefighters


The number of Baltimore County police lieutenants eligible for bonuses being considered by the County Council was reported incorrectly in yesterday's editions of The Sun. The correct number is 52.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Baltimore County Council members discussed yesterday whether they should honor the pledge of the previous administration by paying out roughly $700,000 in bonuses to police and firefighters -- or cut back county spending by &L; rejecting them.

Budget director Fred Homan said the incentive bonuses -- $362,195 for police and $340,000 for firefighters -- were agreed to by the administration of the former executive, Dennis F. Rasmussen, as part of a supplemental pay package approved last spring.

The bonuses were added to negotiated salary packages as a one-time incentive for police and firefighters to seek additional training and to retain good people, he said.

But the bonuses were never funded by the council because they were proposed after the budget was approved last April, said Councilman C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, D-3rd, the former council chairman.

Police officers with at least four years' experience would qualify for a bonus, getting a one-time pay increase that would mean an average $386 award for 879 police officers, Mr. Homan said. County officers earn an average $32,507, personnel officials said.

The 352 police lieutenants who have served in that rank for two years would be awarded an average of $573, Mr. Homan said. The average pay for a lieutenant is $48,174, according to personnel records.

A total of 665 firefighters would qualify for bonuses, which would average about $500, said John Hohman, president of the Baltimore County Firefighters Association. The average firefighter earns $29,908.

County Administrator Merreen Kelly, who is negotiating new contracts with police and firefighters, would not comment on whether the bonuses would become part of a permanent pay package. But Mr. Ruppersberger asked the five newly elected representatives to honor the commitment and fund the bonuses -- which were approved in principle by the previous council.

The measure is expected to pass.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad