Hogan

Gov. Larry Hogan 

Local delegates were torn on whether they would support a supplemental budget from Gov. Larry Hogan, which would give state employees a $1,000 bonus to recognize their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The payments would come out of a proposed $74.1 million allocation, which was announced by the governor Monday. It's possible because of the early anticipation of lower revenues as the pandemic was starting last year, according to a news release.

But now, given better projections, Hogan (R) wants to give all state employees an extra $1,000, which would be paid in April — pending approval by state legislators.

"This supplemental budget recognizes the hard work of our state employees, who have overcome significant challenges to deliver essential services to Marylanders during this public health emergency," Hogan said in a prepared statement.

Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick), chair of the Frederick County delegation, wasn't completely opposed to the supplemental budget but would have preferred a merit-based raise system versus a bonus.

The "optics" of giving employees a bonus while many workers in the private sector have struggled is not ideal, Lewis Young said.

"This is better than nothing. They certainly deserve some recognition, particularly for the challenging year it has been ... [but] it's a distant second choice," Lewis Young said.

Del. Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick ad Carroll), however, felt that many private sector employees have lost their jobs or otherwise been impacted by the pandemic.

State employees have been working hard the past 12 months, but they've also had stable employment compared to many other Marylanders, Pippy added.

"I do realize ... that there are many front-line state employees that have worked significant hours over the past year and I appreciate the Governor's effort to recognize them, but my inclination would still be to prioritize those outside of government that need it the most," Pippy wrote in an email.

Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) shared a similar view. He was glad state workers were recognized, but more needs to be done to help private sector employees.

"I’m deeply disappointed the governor has ignored all Maryland workers that have been essential ... From the grocery store clerk to the restaurant workers and hard working union employees who have been laid off and put aside … [they] need to be reimbursed," Cox said.

When asked to weigh that and giving state employees a bonus, Del. Ken Kerr (D-Frederick) paused and reflected for a moment. Like Lewis Young, Kerr would have preferred some sort of merit-based raise system or a cost of living adjustment versus a straight bonus.

But ultimately, he wasn't immediately opposed to the supplemental budget. There are pros and cons to working in the public and private sector, Kerr said.

"Part of the reason you go is you want to be a civil servant," he said. "But you also understand you’re not going to get commensurate pay compared to someone doing the same thing in the private sector, so there’s no profit motive."

As he was driving into Annapolis Monday night, Del. Barrie Ciliberti's (R-Frederick and Carroll) view on the matter was simple: the private sector has been hurting, but state employees deserve the bonus, as they've been working hard during the pandemic.

"If we have that kind of money, let’s put it there rather than put it back in the rainy day fund," Ciliberti said, referring to a well-known state reserve fund. "Let’s give it to the folks that matter."

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(8) comments

teadoffinfrederickcounty

Looks like vote buying for some future election!

Baltimore Sun |

Dec 16, 2020 at 6:03 PM

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that about 76,000 executive branch and University System of Maryland employees will get scheduled raises on Jan. 1, after all.

The Republican governor had sought agreements with state employee unions to forego their previously negotiated raises and make other concessions, such as pay cuts and layoffs, due to the strain on the state budget from the recession induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Two unions, representing state troopers and Maryland Transportation Authority police officers, agreed to concessions, including forgoing an earlier pay raise and allowances to pay for uniforms.

Thousands of state workers to get 2% increase under agreement reached with Maryland Gov. Hogan

By Pamela Wood |Baltimore Sun | Jan 02, 2020 at 5:46 PM

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that he’s reached an agreement with the state’s largest employee union that will give workers a 2% cost-of-living increase with a possibility of a $500 bonus next year.

newspostreader

I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the bonus, but I don't think $1k is buying votes. Buying votes would take more than that.

Blueline

That's fine, as long as non-state employee taxpayers get a $1,000 tax credit.

micky

How about a hearty thank you and Job well done !! I need my money, thank you !!

Rockfish

I'm sure there are certain State employees who have worked extra, countless hours to manage the pandemic. However I'm also sure these employees have already been pretty well compensated via overtime pay. Then almost certainly there are employees who worked at home with much lighter workloads than normal. Bonuses granted to those whose work was minimally impacted minimizes the gesture of bonuses to those who worked their butt off. Bonuses should be merit based.

Frayou

What is it about politicians wanting to give away taxpayers money, both state and federal. State government are typically mandated to be fiscally responsible. Federal politicians just borrowed with deficit spending. What about the $1400 Congress is about to give away to a lot of people whose really don’t need it? There are a lot of people who had to work during this past year. Giving people bonuses to people who would normally work is ridiculous and irresponsible. Governor, is there some other motive here, buying votes maybe....presidential ambitions?

niceund

People are still waiting on unemployment checks. Small businesses are still not open to capacity or are closed for good. Vaccine rollout is at a snail's pace.

Have the bonuses really been earned?

Fredginrickey

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