Skip to main content


Statement from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich In Response to Inspector General Findings On Pay for Department of Permitting Services Employees

For Immediate Release: Tuesday 10 November

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich issued the following statement today in response to the report from the County Office of the Inspector General that the Executive received on Oct. 29 notifying the administration that the IG had reported that DPS management did not follow County policy on the assignment of COVID differential pay and DPS inspectors received front facing COVID differential pay for some hours to which they were not entitled.  With the COVID-19 emergency, the Montgomery County Government instituted differential pay, widely referred to as hazard pay, for County employees required to work onsite. The $10/hour front facing differential pay is for work with the public, and the $3/hour Back Office differential pay is for work that cannot be performed by telework and does not involve regular physical interaction with the public.

“First, please know that we take the finding by the OIG very seriously and we are taking steps to rectify this situation in order to ensure that this does not happen again.

I want to be clear – as soon as the current DPS director learned of this practice, she stopped it.

I have directed my staff to thoroughly assess what happened in DPS and determine if there are similar occurrences elsewhere in County government. We have already conducted a preliminary review and confirmed that leadership in several larger departments understood the County policies issued in March, communicated those policies to their management teams, and believe their departments have acted consistent with County policies.

Although we have no specific allegations or information to indicate that the situation the OIG identified in DPS has occurred in other departments, I have directed our internal audit team to investigate this matter. The County’s Internal Auditor is leading a team to review all the non-public safety departments (there is no need to review the hazard/differential pay for Police, Fire, Sheriff and Corrections since they are all paid the same hourly differential). We believe the review will be complete by the end of November.

To ensure that there is no misunderstanding of County policies, we also issued a reminder to all departments on how the differential pay should be applied. We directed the departments to remind their employees identified as performing duties eligible for the pay differential of the restrictions on when hours worked are eligible for the differential and remind their managers on the need to review how time is being recorded to ensure compliance with the County policies. We are reviewing appropriate remedies. Some actions have already been taken and we will determine what further actions are necessary to remedy the errors.  The IG also identified some reporting inconsistencies of a technical nature, which our DPS Director had been working to address before the report was issued.

I do want to make the following points. First, while the DPS acting director, who has since retired, used poor judgment, he did not benefit from this decision in any way. We don’t have any reason to suspect fraud, but if any fraud is identified, we will address it immediately. DPS management estimates that the incorrect application of the County’s policies resulted in an overpayment totaling about $100,000. If the new DPS director had been notified sooner, she would have been able to stop the practice sooner. Earlier notification would also have helped in relation to sorting out FEMA reimbursement ​issues, which will cover a significant portion of the hazard/differential pay. Regarding FEMA reimbursement, we will move forward with all the public safety submissions. Because all of our active public safety employees are paid the $10/hour differential pay for their work; there are no possible issues there. 

I also want to thank our many County employees who were willing to work at the height of the pandemic in an environment of fear and uncertainty to deliver County services. Our nurses, paramedics, bus drivers, police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, social workers, building inspectors and many others have reported to work every day to protect the health and safety of our community. This concerning event in no way lessens the importance of their work and my deep appreciation of what they have been doing and continue to do."

Release ID: 20-020