Aide: Furloughs, Layoffs Still Possible In O’Malley Budget

Monday, January 03, 2011 – Robert Lang
Tuesday is the last day state workers can apply for voluntary buyouts that Governor Martin O’Malley hoped to use to cut positions from next year’s state budget, and avoid worker furloughs.

However, as of the end of 2010 it appeared the O’Malley Administration was still short of its goal of eliminating 1,500 positions.

Rick Abbruzzese, communications director for the governor told WBAL News that as of last Wednesday, only 1,000 workers had applied for the buyouts.

Governor O’Malley signed the executive order December 7 establishing the program. 

Last Wednesday was  the last work day for state workers under the governor’s jurisdiction since Thursday was a furlough day and Friday, New Year’s Eve, was a state holiday.

Abbruzzese told WBAL News that the administration hoped another 500 workers would take advantage of the buyouts Monday and Tuesday. 

He said the goal of the program would be to eliminate 1,500 jobs through the buyouts, saving the state $60-million. 

Abbruzzese did say that if not enough workers applied, there would likely be furloughs and/or layoffs in the governor’s budget.

The governor must propose his budget by January 21, which is two days after he takes the oath of office for his second term in office.

Under the order, qualified workers would receive a one-time payment of $15,000 plus $200 for each year of service they have with the state.

Medical, dental and prescription benefits would continue for three months, and workers would also be paid for any unused vacation time.

Under the order, workers who accept the deal could not work for the state as a contractor for the first 18 months after they leave their jobs.The order does not apply to employees of the Maryland General Assembly or the state judiciary.  It does not also apply to law enforcement or correctional officers, or any other agency that is staffed 24 hours a day.

The order allows the University System of Maryland, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Morgan State University to set up their own separation agreements for their employees.

Cabinet secretaries would review any worker’s application for the buyout.

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