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Timing off on bonuses

Officials in our local governments seem to feel they are obligated to give raises every year.

As much as we all might like the idea, the sad fact is not every business, nonprofit agency or municipality can afford to increase the pay of its workers annually.

A Montgomery County committee recently looked at proposals to pay non-bargaining employees a bonus while the details of their new policy are finalized. The two resolutions – combined – would have provided a one-time bonus to about 70 employees.

The bonuses would have ranged from $250 to $1,250 for full-time employees and $125 to $625 for part-time employees who make more than $10,000 a year. Part-time elected officials would have been exempt from receiving the one-time payment.

An official noted the bonuses were proposed because there has been no policy in place for non-bargaining officials for the 2013 and 2014 budget years. The bonuses apparently were intended to make up for annual raises these employees had no opportunity to receive in two years.

However, considering the county in October passed a 2015 budget that included a 2.75 percent tax-levy increase, we don’t think the county should rush to hand out bonuses.

There are plenty of good people in the private and public work force who have gone without bonuses or raises over the last two years. It should be no surprise why that has happened. Despite what politicians would have you believe, the economy is still struggling. Many people are still underemployed. Many are unable to find a job that will give them more work hours or pay them more for their skills.

The majority of the committee shot down the bonus proposals in Montgomery County. We hope the county legislators have no plans to resurrect the bonuses this year.

The county’s non-bargaining employees will be treated fairly in their compensation plans. The county’s taxpayers also want to be treated fairly.

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