Montgomery County calls for investigation into improper COVID-19 hazard pay

The Montgomery County, Maryland, council said it is “outraged” by certain employees receiving improper COVID-19 hazard pay.

The Office of the Inspector General issued a report Friday revealing that Department of Permitting Services inspectors improperly received COVID-19 differential pay.

During the coronavirus emergency, the Montgomery County government instituted additional hazard pay for county employees required to work onsite during the pandemic. This includes $10 an hour additional pay for work with the public and an additional $3 for back office work that cannot be performed by telework and does not required interaction with the public.

The Officer of the Inspector General for Montgomery County received complaints that the Department of Permitting Services management allowed its inspectors to received the $10 an hour differential pay not only for hours worked onsite, but also for hours worked at home or not with the public.

The office opened an investigation into the matter and found that the Department of Permitting Services did not follow the county policy on differential pay and that inspectors did receive additional pay for hours that work was performed at home or not with the public.

The report additionally found that inspection data performed was not complete and not accurate on the planning or the Data Montgomery websites.

The report states that about half of the inspectors claimed 80 hours of front facing COVID-19 differential pay consistently, according to a investigation of three pay periods covering March 29 through May 9.

The report says that as of Sept. 26, the county spent more than $49 million on COVID-19 differential pay across all departments.

“The Council is outraged by the differential pay issues identified in the Department of Permitting Services by the Office of the Inspector General,” the Montgomery County Council said in a statement. “We are calling for an independent investigation across all Montgomery County Government departments and immediate action by County Executive Elrich to stop improper differential pay. Every dollar that was improperly paid, needs to be recovered immediately, and those who committed these egregious acts must be held accountable.”

The Council has an oversight meeting about the issue on Nov. 10 with Inspector General Megan Limarzi and Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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