The Owens administration and the County Council continue to play the blame game over why 3,800 county employees will have to wait a month to see paychecks fattened by new salary raises.
The county personnel office recently sent employees a letter putting the delay squarely at the feet of Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk.
That riled Samorajczyk, an Annapolis Democrat, and other council members. They say the action was politically inspired and a waste of county resources.
Not so, according to Personnel Officer Randall J. Schultz, who said yesterday he sent the letters with the blessing of County Executive Janet S. Owens. "They have a right to know they're not getting their raise when they expect it," he said. "They also had a right to know why it wasn't happening."
Schultz blames Samorajczyk because she introduced an amendment July 5 to the personnel bill containing the raises, which range from 2 percent to 7 percent. The amendment passed 4-2, meaning the council could not take final action on the bill for another month.
The upshot: rather than appearing in the July 21 checks, the raises will not appear until Aug. 25. And while the gap will be made up retroactively, Schultz says that might not happen until winter.
But Samorajczyk said that her amendment - introduced at the behest of the firefighters' union - protects all unionized workers by making sure they get merit raises on time.
She also said the administration should have introduced the personnel bill sooner to avoid a delay.
"When I got that letter, the first thing I saw was, 'Let's blame Barbara,'" said Councilwoman Cathleen M. Vitale, a Severna Park Republican. "And that's wrong."
Countered Schultz: "It was just meant to spell out the rationale and show the domino effect this amendment had on the entire pay issue." He said he did not know how much it cost to mail the letter.
Schultz and council members have clashed lately. At a work session Tuesday, Councilman John J. Klocko III became frustrated with Schultz's answers and stomped out of the council chamber.
The verbal sparring is likely to resume Monday evening, when Schultz returns to the chamber for the council's regular meeting.