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December 5, 2008

Salaries in O'Malley's office

A number of people have commented on yesterday's post about furloughs that first thing, O'Malley should cut the salary increases he gave to his staff when he took over for Ehrlich. Some of his department heads make significantly more than their predecessors did during the Ehrlich administration. It's the price of getting top talent, O'Malley says (and peanuts in the grand scheme of the state's budget problems), but the symbolism isn't good. (Kinda like how paying GM's CEO a dollar a year wouldn't do much to fix the company's problems, but it sure makes people feel better to know they aren't sacrificing to pay that guy a huge salary.)

It'll take a little while to compile all the figures for cabinet heads and such, but a pretty simple comparison of the budgets for the governor's office itself shows O'Malley is spending more there than his predecessor did. In his final budget, Ehrlich spent $7,827,872 on salaries and benefits for 80 employees in his office. This year, O'Malley budgeted $8,397,992 for salaries and benefits for 87.5 employees. (We won't know until well after the end of the fiscal year how much will actually get spent, but that's what O'Malley proposed in the fiscal 2009 budget, so it's a reasonably fair comparison.)

O'Malley's salary of $150,000 is set by law and is the same amount Ehrlich earned. Same goes for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's pay of $125,000, which is unchanged since the days of Michael Steele. And Ehrlich paid his chief of staff, Chip DiPaula, $198,117, according to budget documents, wherease O"Malley's top aide, Michael Enright, is pulling down $150,000.

After that, it's a little difficult to make person-to-person comparisons. Ehlich's communications guys (Paul Schurick and Greg Massoni) made way more money than Rick Abbruzzese does, but the structure of that and other offices is a little different than it was then, so it's probably best to look at the overall figures.

In his last budget, Ehrlich had 77 aides, administrators and managers in his office, pulling down a total of $5,195,616 in salary. O'Malley's most recent budget calls for 84.5 employees making a total of $6,133,483.

Overall, O'Malley  budgeted for payroll in the governor's office of 15.7 percent more than it was in the last year of the Ehrlich administration.

It's interesting to note that salaries and benefits in the governor's office actually went down slightly in O'Malley's first year, but they jumped up quite a bit in the governor's proposal last January. (Right after the special session with the tax increases and budget cuts in various agencies.)

Posted by Andy Green at 9:50 AM | | Comments (31)


I am a state employee with 24 years of service. I see no reason why I should be furloughed without the head office of the Governor (including himself) giving a portion of his salary. As a matter of fact, they should be furloughed more days because they make more money; proportionalely as they propose to cut our salaries, the larger their salaries the more days they should take off.

O'Malley had used scare tactics to get the tax increases, threatening education, police and fire personnel. This goes to show where his priorities are, helping out his inner circle.

Yes, and we got such good government from Mr Ehrlich and his people. Oh, wait, that's why we have the previous current budget problems (before the economic crash thanks to Mr Bush.)

Just another reason why the citizens of the State of Maryland should be ashamed that Martin O'Malley is our Governor. Fiscally he was ranked dead last out of the Nation's govenors in a recent independent study that was reported in the Sun. He is destroying our State. I just hope we can hold out another two years.

OK so how can the state in good conscience say they are saving 34 million by furloughs and on same page find out that the State of maryland in its spend mindset BUYS LAND ON EAST. SHORE FOR 71 MILLION for conservation..please spare me how bad off the richest state in the nation that pays its employess as 40th in nation rationalizes this ...FJN

So no money for state workers, 5 furlough days and then on same page STATE PAYS 71 MILLION ON EAST. SHORE "DUCK LAND" CONSERVATION...please we are richest state in union, pay its' employees 40th in nation and always want more...FJN

Robert, the current budget problem is due to the downturn. The previous structural deficit was caused by not having a funding source for Glendenning's Thorton Plan, w/ a little push from Miller ( Go figure that?). True, Ehrlich did not address the structural deficit, but he did leave a surplus in the Rainy Day fund which MOM used for his first budget. This is just a cluster that MOM has to deal with because it came to a head during his administration. While I'm not a big fan of MOM, I think his actions are better than just putting off the problem.

In his final budget Erlich spent $7,827,872 on salaries and benefits for 80 employees in his office.

In his last budget, Erlich had 77 aides, administrators and managers in his office pulling down a total of $5,195,616 in salary.

Which is it? Even the number of employees doesn't match.

I agree with all parties here. It's bad symbolism to force state workers to take these extra up-paid days off while you are increasing salaries. Although, I don't think OMalley ran into office and immediately caused our revenue shortfall. We are just talking about a small portion of the budget and our fiscal problems go much deeper than this topic.

I think everyone needs to cut spending and the Gov. should cut the number of people on his staff.

Don't blame Ehrlich for what Glendening put in motion. Ehrlich wanted to fix it but we didn't give him a chance

Ehrlich was a statesman

O'Mally is a politician

That is the difference, one is for the people and one is for himself... guess who is who?

And don't blame MOM for what Ehrlich and Glendenning put in motion!

Robert: You're a bitter, misguided individual who perpetually and thoughtlessly points the finger at anyone with an "R" next to their name. Try directing your cliches at those people who truly deserve the criticism...the state legislature. For years, the state legislature has chosen to serve themselves rather than the good, hardworking, taxpayers of the state. Ironically, the people of Maryland have no one to blame but themselves, as the voters are responsible for the corrupt and power hungry cronies who sit in those seats.

The truth about this current budget mess is that it is not about Republican or Democrat. The truth is it is about both! Both parties are one in the same. Can we not see this people? Lets start with the Democratic half of the same monster. Thank you Mr. Politician for the housing mess, Thank you Mr. Politician for taxing us to death Thank you for creating more laws in the idea of creating a black and white society. This is not meant in skin color way but a common sense way. It is in this society where no shades of grey are allowed because common sense is something that was undervalued and will be all but soon lost due to the abundance of micro laws. Now for the Republican side. Thank you Mr. Politician for fighting every war in the world, thank you for paying Peter not to punch Paul, thank you for destroying the earth for every last bit of resource, then making sure we pay out the you know what for these resources! Shouldn't these resources belong to the American people? Why are these resources sold to the highest bidder and then back to the American people at costs that leave many HOMELESS AND HUNGRY. Thank you Mr. Politician for letting big for profit healthcare decides who lives and who dies. We The American People know this doesn't affect you! You Mr. Politician and your families have the best healthcare on the planet at no cost. We The American people pay for that! Thank you Mr. Politician for silencing every other party that wants to be heard besides the big 2 with your crooked Electoral College that can vote what ever way it chooses. Thank you Mr. Politician for selling our land and resources off including potentially Constellation Energy to every country and foreign interest on the planet. Americans own less of the USA than Saudi's do!! Thank You Mr. Politician for bailing out Wall Street the biggest pyramid scheme on the planet where people buy and sell what amounts to really nothing so that the corporate CEO'S can get richer!!! "Its all about the share holders." How many times have we heard that? That phrase that has been used many times and allowed when taking peoples livelihood, destroying communities as well as natural habitats. Thank you for making these people richer and more powerful with in the growing divide Mr. Politician so that they may continue to take peoples homes. The homes that they cannot afford because they were taxed fueled and interest rated to death to pay the already over exaggerated salaries of the very people you bailout! Mr. Politician do you think we are stupid? Just because the auto industry was not in your pocket as much as WALL STREET YOU WANT TO USE THEM AS SCAPEGOATS TO COVER UP THE ALREADY CROOKED BAILOUTS YOU HAVE HANDED OUT! Do not get me wrong the auto industry deserves no hand out. Why would we give a handout to and industry who sends as much as 60% of their workforce overseas!! A majority of this money is not for American salaries it is for foreign interest!!! We already re built most of what Germany destroyed out of our pockets and pay to keep Israel alive do we need to pay German autoworker salaries as well!! I am sure we will be paying these salaries shortly the bailout seams to be inevitable. Thank you Mr. Politician for making the American currency worthless, this was done by taking it off of Gold standard and printing how ever much you want when you want. Mr. Politician since you can print money whenever you want and the only worth it has is in the USA why don't you print $100,000 up for My Father who can barely afford to eat and treat his longtime faithful dog for cancer. He needs it more than Mr. Wall street CEO!!! Thanks Mr. Politician and Mr. Lobbyist for being so greedy that you have destroyed the infrastructure of this once proud country and turned it and its people into the laughingstock of the world.

Please, whatever! Goofy story! Tell me how many people he has discovered were Replicans and then fired ala Ehrlich's Gestapo boys chopping Dem heads a few years back.

Martin O Malley is a JOKE!!!! This is what Maryland gets for putting him in office. I hope all the State Employee's go on a long non paid vacation together. Lets see if OBAMA follows suit more taxes more spending!! O Malley raised every tax there is. Now Slots are coming!!! WOW more taxes for the poor. Do you really think smart people with money play those dumb slot's. I can tell you. Hell no!! Its just another tax on the poor. Well I hope you are all happy Maryland on your great choice of Gov. and President you all get what you deserve!!!

In a word it is disgracefull what our
government and it's Politician 's and it's
wall street CEO'S that are so greedy ,
i guess they sleep good at night while
the rest of us are struggling.

I agree that O'malley's methods are not the best.

I agree that there are budget problems in the state.

I agree that the single biggest problem is a completely ineffective legislature. Everyone has a hand in this mess since we re-elect incumbents like Busch and Miller.

Single party rule is at best ineffective and at worst destructive to the people.

When spending was about to outstrip income, the state house should have immediately halted all growth. If we can't fund what we have now, why are we growing?

Again, the state employee is bearing the burden of poor political management. Instead of fiscal responsibility it's much easier to lay the burden to others. I found it quite interesting that while your front page reported on the furloughs, it further detailed the spending of $85 million for new software for tax management. So lets do the math, save $34 million by furloughing state employees, spend $85 million on new software; love that fiscal responsibility! (maybe the new tax software will be better than the pig in the poke the state purchased 10-12 years ago for cost accounting)

I am further appalled at the inequity to which the furloughs must be taken; those making under $40,000 will have their two (2) days spread out over 7 months, everyone else will have their days taken out of the pay period in which they are taken. Oh yeah, don't forget those in emergency health and public safety, they get no furloughs! Wouldn't the more fair and equatable thing be to reduce the pay of each and every state employee one (1) or two (2) hours per pay period for the entire year, thereby reducing the financial crunch of an 8 hour lose and also including ALL state employees without reducing emergency health and public safety? But such a plan would require the Politicos of Maryland to actual think about someone other then themselves!

As a state employee, I experienced the furloughs of '92 and don't look forward to the current furloughs, but allowing them to be spread out over the year and by including ALL state employees would make it an easier pill to swallow.

I urge the Governor to do the right thing for all employees.

What about the almighty slots.
I though that was supposed to help

I would rather have a furlough over being laid off but hope that we are given a reasonable amount of notice so we can plan for the cut in pay. December 26th and January 2nd would be good days to do the furloughs because the State will not only save on salaries for that day but on utilities too for having the buildings closed over the 4 day weekend.

I would like to see new guidelines set soon on the handouts that are given out at the agencies, there are too many people out there abusing the system. Something has to change! We can give,give,give and the State is going to take,take,take from the ones that work for the State and are actually out there making a living on there own without financial help from the state. I think if people know that they are going to have to go out and get that 2nd job to support there family because DSS isn't going to support them like they use too MAYBE people will start being responsible adults. It upsets me that I have to work 2 jobs to pay my bills while others can just live off of the State and not even work or only when they want too.

It is unfair for state employees who are paid significantly less than their peers be required to take unpaid furlough days because the governor and general assembly (both past and present) are unable to balance a budget. No one has a problem bashing Bush for his administration's inability to foresee the economic slowdown. Our governor (ranked last) should be tarred with the same stick.

Rather than punish the state workers, most who have no political sway, wouldn't it make more sense for the governor to voluntarily eliminate all of his cronies who were appointed to highly paid created positions?

Another possibility is to have our elected General Assembly agree to take a paycut back to the pay they were receiving before they voted themselves a payraise several years ago. I am quite sure that will save the state some funds.

One point that no one has made is the fact that the state employees are being forced to take two unpaid days off on back to back weeks. That means that not one, but two paychecks in a row will be short pay. That is a struggle for anyone at anytime, but especially hard during the winter months when heating costs are at a premium. I am sure the governor does not care, since it is the Maryland taxpayer that pays his heating bill at the mansion in Annapolis.

Will someone please tell me why he was voted in?

Where I come from, when the Sr. Management needs to save money, they come to top line management and give them a number, then rely on their managers to get there. Not sure why O'Malley doesn't allow his department heads to simply make cuts/consolidate departments as needed. Just tell them that 2009 budget is X% less than this year....layoff who you need to, consolidate offices, renegotiate leases, etc. This is how progress is made. This is how dead-weight employees are cut, and what is left will be motivated to work and won't need a furlow.

Democrats and Republicans are cousins in the same family. Citizens are the nasty neighbors next door who they despise, but need. $2.39 tax on a pack of smokes.....facist leadership is what we have.

OWE'malleywon't be happy until he achieves his goal of a socialist state. In other words, earn money, give it all to the state and then depend on the government to tell us what is good for us.

No thanks, Marty, go strum your guitar and sing songs praising the IRA. You were less harmful in that capacity.

Unfortunately, the voters of this state are little more than sheep, and until that problem is corrected we will be doomed forever to single party corruption and fraud.

Mike is on to something. I agree, thank you mr. Politician.

How about forced rankings? Have every manager in the state rank the employees best worker down to the worst worker without tenure inluded. BYE BYE dead weight

It was the state employees who voted for MOM en masse and they should pay their fair share for doing so. I say that since the sales tax was increased 20% then the state employees should give up a day of work per week, Lord knows they only work about two days a week anyway.

md in crisis said: "Ehrlich was a statesman"

Thanks for the laughs, friend!

Mr Josh, if you can tell me the R's have done such a wonderful job over the last 8 years, I want whatever medication you are using. Bitter, yes that our Constitution has been ignored and trampled. I feel safer with an incompetent or corrupt D in office than any R, with the local exception of Mr Gilchrist of the Eastern Shore. In my voting life the R's have given us such great leaders as Nixon and the shrub. Makes me all warm inside.

Lot's of State Whiners here. O'Malley is right on with a furlough. Saves everyones job, not that you deserve to have your job saved. How about all State employees putting your names in a hat and the Governor can draw 200 names to fire. Then the rest of you won't have any furlough time. You will have a little additional work, which I know is something your really are not accustomed too. Pay attention, try to do some more work for the pay you now receive, that would go a long way to help the State. O'Malley didn't make the Mess, but he is Cleaning it up, in a fair way. By the way, he is taking furlough days, without pay, just like everyone else.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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