SYKESVILLE — A 38-year-old South Carroll man is one of 900 USF & G Corp. employees who find themselves out of work this week.
Steven D. Bellin was one of 900 USF&G employees who were let go Jan. 16.
The 13-year veteran of the downtown Baltimore insurance giant, a senior service specialist, had a five-minute conversation with his manager, in which he was told that his group would be combined with another group, "that numbers were being cut and that I was one of those numbers."
He packed his belongings while a supervisor watched. Then Bellin was escorted out of the company's Mount Washington building.
Though he and his wife, Kathleen, had discussed the possibility of Bellin losing his job just the night before, "I honestly didn't expect him to get laid off," she said.
Bellin's wife wept when he walked through the door of their South Carroll home shortly after 10 a.m. His three children -- Mary, 5; Christopher, 2; Ashley, 1 -- didn't ask questions, but rather spent the time climbing on and around theirfather.
Bellin said the job cuts had been anticipated since Norman P. Blake Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company, replaced Jack Moseley, 59, who stepped down after leading the company for nine years.
"There was a memo that had said there would be a reduction," Bellin said. "We figured, obviously, somethingwould be coming."
Bellin has found himself out of work before. Helost jobs twice in 1975, which was one reason he wanted to work for USF & G. He joined in 1978 as a computer operator trainee.
"The company had a reputation of never laying off its employees," he said. "I was looking for security at that time.
"I was looking for something that wouldn't go up and down with the economy. My father-in-law worked there for about 41 years."
Bellin also spoke highly of USF &G, and said he felt no animosity toward the company. But he added that some employees questioned the company's management style, and thata lot of money had been spent over the last two years.
"And now the average guy is going to suffer because of it," he said.
In the meantime, Bellin said he plans to "sit back and enjoy my family for afew weeks." His severance package includes eight weeks pay, plus twoweeks pay for each of the 13 years he was employed by the company.