Montgomery County Council considers approving $1.5 million to settle dispute over COVID-19 hazard pay

Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County Council recently discussed approving a $1.5 million settlement that County Executive Marc Elrich proposed, to settle a dispute over COVID-19 hazard payments.

83 county management employees filed grievances related to COVID-19 hazard pay. Those include police, fire, and sheriff’s office managers who were left out of an earlier agreement.

“We negotiated at a lower rate because we didn’t want to wind up in court and a judge rule your contract says double time and you’re going to pay double time. that would have cost the county way more money,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.

The county council has made clear that they believe these workers deserve the pay but have concerns about the county executive not running the agreement by the council first. The council also brought to question a letter Elrich sent to FEMA requesting reimbursements for hazard pay, although the county never declared a state of emergency. The letter also wasn’t reviewed by the county attorney.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that even when those decisions have been made.. that there isn’t what would be an appropriate level of communication to allow the council to do their oversight job, their fiscal appropriation job,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson.

A public hearing about the settlement is set for December 7th. 

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