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December 7, 2010

O'Malley offers buyouts

Gov. Martin O'Malley today offered state workers $15,000 a piece if they resign by the end of January, the latest effort by the administration to cut costs as they look ahead to another massive budget hole next year.

Not all of the state's 79,000 employees will qualify for the plan. Those who do will also receive $200 for each year of state employment.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, O'Malley said Maryland continues to "face significant budget challenges" and told workers "we all need to do more to cut costs."

He also said the plan will help avoid layoffs, a goal he has repeatedly mentioned. Already state workers have seen their pay reduced three years in a row via furloughs, with employees giving up between five and 10 days of pay depending on their salary.

The state's work force has contracted since O'Malley took office, shedding 1,286 positions since 2007 -- a reduction of 1.6 percent. The General Assembly this year required that the executive branch eliminate 500 additional workers, though most believed those reductions would come from erasing empty positions or attrition.

O'Malley's fiscal leaders are currently working on next year's budget, a spending plan that will have to take account for an expected $1.6 billion gap between revenues and expenditures. O'Malley has said the plan will rely on a "continued diet of cuts" rather than any new taxes.

(A longer version of this story appeared in Wednesday's Sun.)

Posted by Annie Linskey at 12:13 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Administration


Most state employees can't afford to resign so don't expect a lot of volunteers. Also, news like this shouldn't be emailed to employees in the same format the Governor's emails come. We don't usually read them.

Stop spending MOM.
It is that simple.
Why is this such a difficult proposition for our Progessive governor to do?

Bet it won't be anyone who has a position he created when he was elected.

Why would someone voluntarily quit for such a low amount of money and probably be out of state benefits, unemployment, health insurance, and a job during hard times of the economy. The only people taking this deal are ones retiring anyway who are now going to get back the money they gave away during the last two years of cuts.

I'll personally give O'Malley $20,000 to resign by the end of the week!

Not bad...take the buyout then collect unemployment forever under Obama's new plan and find some work under the table which is what most of the people I know on unemployment are doing. I don't work for the state but can I get that deal somehow?

To save some big money... The Governor should layoff his Father-In-Law, Hugh salary and he takes power naps a day long!!!!!

Eliminate waste, like the Governor's mansion that taxpayers pay for. He can live in a regular house like the rest of us.

I agree with Nick. There are no jobs out there to be had that pays what current State employees make. Fifteen thousand dollars won't go very far when you have to a mortgage payment, a family to feed, etc. And then if a State employee does resign, they lose their health insurance, so there goes the $15,000 just for medical bills. I also agree with Jay - the State has to stop spending money and stop expecting the savings to come from the State workers. I think State employees have suffered enough with no pay raises for 4 years and furloughs for the last three. Who knows what's going to happen to them in the next fiscal year.

State employees considering this offer might wish to be aware of the real world employment situation.

If you're over 50... chances are the only jobs you'll find even IF YOU'RE LUCKY will be in low paying retail or fast food positions.

Employment figures that quote 9 percent unemployment do not include the millions of employable people like
yourself who GAVE UP look for work. The real unemployment rate in MD is probably about 15 - 20 %.

Your lump sum payment will be taxed at FULL, MAXIMUM rates by the IRS.

15,000 after taxes is about 4 months worth of living expenses... I personally
know several job seekers with Masters
Degree's who have been searching for more than 6 months and are still unemployed.

Most, if not all of the 50+ job seekers have given up even trying to find employment as their skills are outdated or there is no market for their skills.

The next big lie is that the State will hire you back as a contractor. Being a contractor means you need to pay ALL your expenses including medical, life,
car... etc. During an economic downturn
contractor heads are the first to roll. And
contracts usually only run for one or two
years at which time they are deactiviated and you are out of a job (once again).

If you resign rather than being laid off, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Even when you are laid off, your severance package needs to run out before being eligible for unemployment.

Outplacement services are just a incentive to keep you from suing your employer for illegal termination.

You'll learn how to write a resume, you rehearse a job interview or two and you'll be told the real news about the bleak and totally competitive job market... and they're let you use their computer and printer, provided you don't have your own.

Outplacement agencies are not the same as employment agencies. If you want the full scoop on how employable you are..check with an actual employment agency.

So before you consider this offer
if you are an older worker...ask yourself if you have enough saving to give up employment for the rest of your life.

If you are a younger worker, ask yourself if you have enough savings to cover your expenses for up to a year without finding employment.

The job market is getting bleaker and bleaker. There are plenty of applicants out there with advanced degrees and good experience that cannot find positions in this economy. Ask yourself
this question...

If they cannot find positions, what makes you think that you will be able to?

Think REAL hard about this decision as you and your family might be living with it for the rest of your life. If you go for it, I wish you the best of luck as you'll need it.

This would be a great idea if the period was longer and would allow people to look for other employment.

Dad, you can't collect unemployment if you quit, but your incompetence is noted.

Jay, doesn't this count as a way to stop spending?

@ Dad - actually a state employee who takes this offer would be ineligible for unemployment benefits as they are VOLUNTARILY leaving state government and NOT being let go.

Who would hire an ex state employee?

The only way a state employee could take this offer is if they really don't need the job or they have another job lined up. Hopefully, 500 people fit the bill. If not, 500 executive branch employees will be getting layed off soon.

MOM wasn't thinking about this when he ordered State Employees to work OVERTIME on Sunday (10/24/10) to collect republican political signs from the side of the road and trash them. The workers were seen all over the state.

@RESIGN -- many of us will chip in!

State government has been cumbersome and an unproductive method of business (not to mention corrupt). So much "dead weight" in the state government. $15,000 is too much. State employees complain about everything, so give them something to complain about. Lay them off.

Federal Government does this all the time. They figured that it is a lot cheaper then laying someone off.

This is good for people who may be close to retirement.

The are so many areas where state money is wasted, and here we go again with taking it out on state employees. So the Thorton bill says that the education budget must go up every year? Maybe Md can start printing money like the Federal Govt.

No Steve O.
Smacks of desperation to me.
MOM should take the deal himself and spare us.

I can't afford to resign from the State.

Would have been nice if my step father had this option last year when he was forced into retirement two years early and therefore received reduced retirement benefits that he spent his whole career working towards. So much for his state career being secure when he could have made twice as much in the private sector.

I'd love for the Baltimore Sun to report the total cost of MOM's inaugural activities. One would think in these times, he'd cancel the hoopla and have just a modest ceremony with family. Come on, Baltimore Sun! Do an investigation and file your PIA requests to see how many cops were taken off the street for this show! MOM will spend money at the expense of state employees who have families. He's a typical self-centered, hypocrite, politician.

I have an idea fire all the delegates and senators in Annapolis along with MOM let them live with all of the homeless they created in tent farms in the freezing cold with no perks all the money we save from their salaries we can fix the budget mess .

This is truly an insult to people who may be looking for retirement. Because of how poorly things have been run in this country, we are all having to work longer in order to retire. For me to leave, it is hardly enough money or monthly fee to give up your job in these economic times. Resolution: One year full pay, $300 for every year worked and health benefits for life would probably garner better results.

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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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