Johnson says no need for furloughs in Prince George's
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) said Wednesday that he will submit a revised budget to the County Council that will eliminate all furloughs of county employees because of additional state funding the county secured during the recently concluded General Assembly session.
Last month, Johnson's proposed budget for fiscal 2011 included eight days of furloughs for government employees, which, if approved, would have marked the third straight year of furloughs in Prince George's -- a policy that has spawned protests and legal battles.
But the county will receive additional state funds in this year's state budget, including $18 million from the state in "disparity grants," which are designed to help jurisdictions with relatively low per capita income. The new money is the result of a change made in the way the grants are calculated by the state.
"When I announced my proposed budget in March, I said I hoped this would not be our final budget," Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. "Due to the outstanding work of our delegation in Annapolis and my legislative team, I am proud to announce that I will be submitting a revised FY 2011 budget to the County Council that proposes no employee furloughs for Fiscal Year 2011. This will ease the burden on county employees during these difficult economic times."
At an Annapolis news conference Tuesday, Johnson also said there would be no layoffs in the budget because of the new funds -- another revision from his original proposal, which included up to 10 layoffs -- and that education would get increased funding. He said then that the eight days of proposed furloughs would be reduced, but did not commit to a new number of days.
UPDATE: Johnson's announcement drew rare praise from Vince Canales, the
county's Fraternal Order of Police President, whose union has
staunchly opposed the furlough policy both in the media and in
"We're definitely moving in he right direction," Canales said.
"There's still some other issues that need to be addressed in contract
negotiations. ...I'm glad the county executive has taken the position
of trying to make whole the employees that have been harmed the last
Johnson's spokesman, John Erzen, said the new budget proposal will be
sent to the council within the next two weeks and is still being
drafted. He said other revisions are possible.
"Everything is still being looked at," Erzen said.
Erzen said the eight furlough days would have saved the county about
April 14, 2010; 11:42 AM ET
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