Council to Review Compensation for County Employees
The Montgomery County Council at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 29, will review the recommended compensation and benefits provisions for employees of all County agencies for Fiscal Year 2015. The worksession is part of the Council’s review of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended FY15 operating budget.
The Council is scheduled to reach a tentative agreement on the budget on May 15 and is scheduled to formally adopt the budget on May 22. The budget will go into effect on July 1.
The Council’s regular weekly session will begin at 10 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The Council’s morning session, a public hearing on Bill 17-14 that would provide a tax credit for senior citizens of limited income and two committee meetings scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed at:
The Council meeting will be rebroadcast on Friday, May 2, at 9 p.m. and will be available before that time on demand.
The Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee on April 24 reviewed the proposed compensation and benefits packages for employees.
As in past years, salary and benefit costs for active and retired employees account for four-fifths of the recommended FY15 operating budget.
For County Government employees in FY15, the Executive has recommended general wage adjustments and service increments as negotiated last year—the first year of two-year collective bargaining agreements with the three organizations that represent employees (the Montgomery County Government Employees Organization, the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters).
A key compensation issue in the recommended budget is pre-funding for retiree health benefits (OPEB – Other Post-Employment Benefits). All four agencies (also including Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission) plan to implement the Medicare Part D Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) for prescription drug coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees/survivors effective Jan. 1, 2015. Because of this change and other factors, the recommended FY15 tax supported allocation for OPEB pre-funding, $100.6 million, is $81.8 million (44.8 percent) less than projected in the approved FY14-19 Fiscal Plan last June (and $33.7 million less than projected in the December Fiscal Plan update).
Since the fiscal implications of the revised agency OPEB pre-funding costs are so large, for both the FY15 budget and the out-years, Council staff asked the Council’s actuarial adviser, Bolton Partners, to independently assess the change and the savings attributed to the EGWP, claims experience, cost trends, and other factors. Bolton Partners’ three major conclusions are:
- Overall, moving to the EGWP is a good idea.
- The projections provided by Aon Consulting for FY15 seem reasonable.
- There are factors in FY16 and beyond that suggest some of the savings in the OPEB funding cost be retained.
At 1:30 p.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room, the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which is chaired by Roger Berliner and includes Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer, will review the overall solid waste charges for single-family, multi-family and non-residential property owners and the Transfer Station Tipping Fees. In his recommended budget, the County Executive recommended keeping the solid waste charges and the tipping fees at Fiscal Year 2014 levels.
At 1:30 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Health and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice, will hold a worksession on the proposed funding of $1 million each year from Fiscal Year 2016 to FY20 for grants for capital improvement projects for Arts and Humanities-related groups. For FY15, a total of 13 projects are to be reviewed.