Owens to cut cost-of-living pay increases


County Executive Janet S. Owens plans to cut cost-of-living increases for thousands of employees, including public safety unions and all Board of Education employees, her spokeswoman said yesterday.

Spokeswoman Jody Hedeman Couser attributed the cuts to projected revenue shortfalls and expected state budget cuts.

"In light of the current financial situation, pay increases and all pending capital projects are continuously under review for affordability," Couser said.

Aside from Board of Education employees, those affected will be the sheriff's deputies of Teamsters Local 103; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2563; International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1563; the Anne Arundel County Police Sergeants Association; and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70.

It is unclear how much the cuts will save the county for the next fiscal year, which will begin July 1, Couser said.

The only groups that will receive the raises are ones that were previously negotiated, approved by the County Council and appropriated by Owens, Couser said.

Sheila Finlayson, president of the teachers union, said she plans to lobby county officials against the cuts.

O'Brien Atkinson, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, "In all likelihood, this is a legitimate situation, but the administration is still going to have to prove to us that they don't have the money to pay officers."

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