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Focus Sharpens On County Early Retirement Plan Results

Seven departments shed 174 employees and $11 million in salaries.

Baltimore County expects to save more than $11 million through the elimination of 174 positions in seven departments as a result of its early retirement incentive offering.

Baltimore County officials have been slow to release information on how each department has been specifically affected. Recent budget hearings before the County Council have shed some light on the issue.

The county expects to expects to save a total of $8 million from retirements in the Fire, Police, Property Management and Public Works departments, according to reviews performed by the county auditor's office.

Department Retired Employees Expected Savings Environmental Protection and Sustainability 7 $535,000 Fire 20 $2.1 million Permits 30 $1.4 million Police 26 $2 million Property Management 41 $2.1 million Public Works 40 $2.3 million Recreation and Parks 10 $596,000

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the early retirement incentive last year. County officials hoped to eliminate 200 positions and save about $15 million annually.

The individual retirements required approval from County Administrative Officer Fred Homan. Most employees were required to leave their positions by the end of February and the jobs were then eliminated.

Last month, Kamenetz announced that more than 600 county employees applied for the retirement incentive. The county approved 310 retirements and estimate the savings will be about $21 million.

This post has been updated to correct the number of positions deleted from the Department of Environmental Protection and Sutainability.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

charles richardson May 15, 2012 at 10:25 PM
The numbers don't seem to make sense. How can 30 in Environment..=$535,000 and then 30 in Permits = $1.4 million-those numbers seem very strange. If you take the average of all departments something doesn't add up in Environment. As I read the proposals you had to have 20 years + in the system and be 50 years old. So given those requirements the numbers should at least be within a reasonable margin and they aren't. I think someone ,somewhere needs to explain the difference. Additionally, where are the other 126 retirees? I think those questions are fair. Unless the County is factoring in "replacement" costs for those departments,which would seem to defeat the purpose of the program.
Buzz Beeler May 15, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Charles there are two other issues that are blowing in the wind. I would expect that those still in the drop program to have an impact on that savings along with a possible class action law suit regarding this article that Bryan wrote. http://dundalk.patch.com/blog_posts/court-rejects-county-ethics-claim-against-barnhart
fred May 16, 2012 at 12:11 AM
i'm sure there was and still is a lot of pencil whipping going on with the numbers, nobody does that better than the county.
Raven May 16, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Not all county employees make the same salary nor do all departments have the same positions that make the same amount. Environmental may have clerks that make 25k while Permits has employees making 80k. Without details on what positions that is a hard comparison to make. The figures given are only for those departments listed. The remainder came from other departments such as Budget and Finance etc. There are a lot of departments not listed that make up the balance.
Mike Pierce May 16, 2012 at 02:51 AM
So when are we (the public) going to get a full accounting, for every department, including the counts of how many were transferred from one department to another to make up for the losses. And while we're at it, how about a count of how many jobs have been contracted out now that there are not enough county employees to do it. I know this is happening in maintenance (cutting grass, etc).
Bryan P. Sears May 16, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Charles: At this point we don't know what other departments the retirees came from. We don't know the job classifications or individual salaries and some other retirement information. Patch requested the information on March 1 and was told that it was tied up in the budget and was not available.
Calm down May 16, 2012 at 08:26 AM
You guys are incredible. Baltimore County is the only jurisdiction not raising taxes, maintaining a triple AAA bond rating, and not furloughing employees. Stop looking under rocks, this County is under good management!
Buzz Beeler May 16, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Mike, the only way to get a real accounting is to file a FOIA. Then they have to respond to your specific question. There easy to do and can be done by e-mail.
Buzz Beeler May 16, 2012 at 01:23 PM
When was the last time you read the budget? See the stock market lately? Good management like the missing $21 million boondoggle? How about the article on the county's explosion in the class room size's? That rock you're talking about, is that where the $21 million is?
john May 16, 2012 at 02:52 PM
The poorly planned early retirement initiative has left Rec and Parks in a mess. This once proud department now can't seem to find its way. Round two should help them become even more ineffective.
jack friese May 16, 2012 at 04:13 PM
The Baltimore County taxpayers would save millions every year by eliminating the medicare fraud by the Dumbcastle crew -department of Social Services on York Road Towson. Look at the Gaudenzia operation in Park Heights, that is charging Medicare for services they don't provide. Its called medicare fraud folks. Dumbcastle is a gang of thugs that harass citizens, sit by and watch foster kids get sexually, physically and emotionally abused then get the Ruskin Price, the commander of the Baltimore Police to help cover up the child abuse. They wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on failed rehab programs for Benjamin's mom. My son's mother has been in eight failed programs ordered by Timothy Griffith, Judy Schagrin and Branch. They don't understand bi polar, drug or alcohol abuse. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been poured into the dumbcastle swamp on failed programs for almost four years, Judy Schagrin. Why? Wake up Teflon Teddy Dallas and get the broom out and start sweeping the corruption out of this department. Have Schagrin, Branch, Levey, Niland and Ferguson follow Griffith out the dumbcastle door and into the unemployment line or let them continue screwing Maryland taypayers and retire them. The Baltimore County Police are a part of this child abuse cover up by Judy Schagrin and Branch, What a colossal waste by a group of incompetents. Fire them all! HHR and DSS could cut the staff by ten percent and no one would miss any of these clowns.
Concerned Citizen May 16, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Hey Jack, maybe the programs are not a failure, maybe Benjamin 's mom is a lost cause. Maybe stop depending on free mental health services and get some insurance and pay for treatment yourself....8 programs tells me maybe the mom is a hopeless cause. You are really cool naming the folks at DSS, nice white trash move
jack friese May 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Disquested: What you don't know disgusted is Benjamin's was raped at the age of 12 in the Salem Group home in Garrett County. The BCDSS group covered up this rape for about twenty years. All rape victims get traumatized and BCDSS provided no mental health treatment for twenty years. These clowns are clueless about bi polar and addiction issues. Judith Schagrin has presided over eight failed programs and only an idiot would continue doing the same idiotic things for four years. Benjamin is a child disgusted, he is the victim by the jerks at dumbcastle who have done nothing to help Benjamin for almost four years and his mother for twenty years. People like you when the blame is squarely on the shoulders of this agency who is responsible to protect children. Why do you think they call it Child protective services (CPS)? You have no idea what you are talking about disgusted. When the County Police, the social workers overvsight review board and the clowns at dumbcastle cover up child abuse, look the other way and are mandated parties, it is a crime and violates the annotated code. Look it up.
Concerned Citizen May 16, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Hey Jack, it's one big conspiracy, everyone is out to get you..
Concerned Citizen May 16, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Is it Benjamin or his mom? Maybe you are the idiot for putting em through 8 programs.... Not sure why you havre to call these hard working people names
charles richardson May 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Back to the topic at hand. I support the County in it's efforts to reduce the payroll and we are in much,much better shape than most and you must give credit where credit is due. However,this could be reduced to a simple excercise that would take 1 to 2 days,at most using one person. Somebody knows who retired, someone knows what they were making. It's spreadsheet 101, you list the people who walked out the door, you list their salary. You then add up the number of people and add their salaries. There really isn't any reason someone in the County couldn't do that relatively quickly. I'm concerned that that hasn't been done. It would at least give a quick snapshot of the people and savings and no names need to be divulged. Please County, I support you but this excercise needs to happen. Please put the doubters to rest. Have someone complete the basic excercise and release the figures.
charles richardson May 16, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Raven, you are correct but the numbers are too far off for that to be the answer. The spread is way too high. If it were in the $800 or 900,000 range I could accept that premise. This is a great program,on the surface it appears to be a win-win for all. I applaud the County for it's aggressive nature curbing costs. I do think that information needs to get out, even if it isn't what was originally thought to be the savings. If the program saves 50% or 70% of the plan it's a win.
Mike Pierce May 16, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Well, it's more complicated. They got rid of some people in maintenance, so they are saving on not paying them salary or beneifts. Instead, they are contracting out the grass cutting for at least one park I know of. Where does the cost of hiring that contractor fit into the spreadsheet? Have they just shifted the expenses from one column to another?
charles richardson May 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM
To Mike,those are fair comments and observations but initially the least that can and should be done is a simple accounting of the 310 that retired. At least that number could be put out there. In time the real additional costs and savings will be vetted. I'm sure it takes time to calculate the health savings etc. but in the interim I hope the County can at least put some basic numbers together on the 310.
fred May 17, 2012 at 01:00 AM
it is easy to account the numbers you reference,but it takes time to make things appear better than they are. it is also required that these eliminated numbers don't reappear in a year as another position with a different name as occurred last time when there were reductions of this type in a public safety department.

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