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Posted at 2:48 PM ET, 12/ 7/2010

O'Malley makes buyout offer to Md. state employees

By John Wagner


o'malley-serious.JPGWith Maryland facing a looming budget shortfall of more than $1 billion, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) offered a buyout plan Tuesday to state employees willing to resign by the end of next month.

State workers who agree to participate in the "voluntary separation program" will receive a lump-sum payment of $15,000, another $200 for each year of service and three months of health benefits.

O'Malley, who was reelected last month, said the program is intended to "cut costs in a fiscally responsible way" and help avoid layoffs in his budget proposal due to the General Assembly in mid-January.

"Under this program, I hope to continue to decrease the size of our workforce by allowing employees to voluntarily elect to leave state government," O'Malley said in a letter e-mailed to state employees.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese declined to say how much the program might save, saying the administration would have to see how widely utilized it is.

moran photo.jpgPatrick Moran, director of AFSCME Maryland, the state's largest employees union, said his group has been encouraging the administration to adopt such a program for years and had worked to negotiate terms as generous as possible.

"We're happy to see it's finally been taken up," Moran said. "At the end of the day, if it will alleviate potential layoffs, it's a good thing."

Moran said the scope of the state's buyout offer was similar to those of other states that have tried the same thing.

"We don't think it will entice a huge number of people," Moran said. "It's there to entice people who've been considering retiring or are on the cusp of retirement or have other job possibilities."

As Maryland has grappled with budget shortfalls in previous years, state employees have been subject to furloughs and temporary salary reductions. About 4,200 state positions have also been eliminated, according to O'Malley's office.

O'Malley's announcement of the buyout plan comes a day after he e-mailed state employees a news story from the New York Times that detailed the crises that many states are facing because of budget shortfalls and debt loads.

By John Wagner  | December 7, 2010; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Governor, John Wagner  
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Comments

Help me out here!! With today's economic climate, what fool would take such a "buy-out?"

And, if there are any takers, how will it save the state any money?

Maybe the Governor should just bite the bullet and reduce the number of State employees the old fashioned way. Eliminate jobs. What a way to start his new term. Costing Maryland taxpayers more money because he lacks leadership.

Posted by: 15of18 | December 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

This is a waste of money, period. Very few people will take it, and only people who were going to retire this month anyway will get the $15,000. CLEARLY, the path before all counties, and localities, is to declare bankruptcy and void the union contracts that have led to the profligate state of affairs in the United States. Its going to happen anyway. Why waste time and money? The public union contracts and pensions are the dead weight around the necks of the American people. A policeman retiring at age 50 with HUGE pay and benefits is a nice thing, and I would even say a cop would deserve it, but you know what? That ain't reality, so get over it. Here is the word for you to return to sanity: "UNSUSTAINABLE." You dig? Nah, you don't. I just like to sit on the river bank and point out to people that the canoe they are in is heading toward Niagara Falls. The sad thing is to see people pointing fingers at each other instead of rowing for the shore. Have a nice trip.

Posted by: shred11 | December 7, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a waste of money, period. Very few people will take it, and only people who were going to retire this month anyway will get the $15,000. CLEARLY, the path before all counties, and localities, is to declare bankruptcy and void the union contracts that have led to the profligate state of affairs in the United States. Its going to happen anyway. Why waste time and money? The public union contracts and pensions are the dead weight around the necks of the American people. A policeman retiring at age 50 with HUGE pay and benefits is a nice thing, and I would even say a cop would deserve it, but you know what? That ain't reality, so get over it. Here is the word for you to return to sanity: "UNSUSTAINABLE." You dig? Nah, you don't. I just like to sit on the river bank and point out to people that the canoe they are in is heading toward Niagara Falls. The sad thing is to see people pointing fingers at each other instead of rowing for the shore. Have a nice trip.

Posted by: shred11 | December 7, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

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