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Almost 50 Pr. George's Employees Laid Off

Just under 50 Prince George's County employees were told by their managers and supervisors that they were being laid off when they came into work this morning -- a cost-cutting measure implemented by County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D)in response to a recent $22.7 million cut in state funding.

The county recently announced that up to 125 employees would be laid off to make up the lost funds. Today's layoffs -- which have an effective date of Nov. 1 -- are just the beginning, and more could come early next week, said Johnson's spokesman James Keary. He said as many as 40 employees were slated to be cut from the county health department, but that only a handful were laid off today because of the complexity of deciding which were safest to eliminate.

"You've got H1N1 staring us in the face right now," Keary said. "It's complex."

The planned cuts to the health department are the result of a direct state cut to that agency.

Keary also said fewer people than expected were laid off from the rest of the government because the original estimate was based on an average salary. Employees with higher pay were identified for layoffs, allowing the county to let go of fewer people, he said.

There is still no word on which departments the layoffs are coming from, though county officials have said repeatedly that sworn public safety officers would be unaffected. Keary said adjustments are being made and that he hopes to have a list of affected departments later in the day.

Laid-off employees are on paid leave for the month of October, and the county is offering assistance in résumé-writing and job searching to help ease their transition. Keary said.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  October 2, 2009; 1:12 PM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo , Maryland State Budget , Prince George's County  
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