Maryland Port Administration officials have begun notifying 46 employees that they will be laid off at the end of October as part of a downsizing of the agency announced Sept. 5.
The MPA posted a $2.8 million deficit in its last fiscal year and has projected a deficit of $5.5 million for the current fiscal year, which ends in June. By reducing the port agency's work force by 15 percent and through other cost reductions, MPA Executive Director Adrian G. Teel hopes to cut this year's projected deficit and to balance the budget the next year.
The notices, dated Thursday, were to be hand-delivered to the employees. Because some of the 46 were not at work Thursday and yesterday, not all had been notified.
The reorganization calls for the elimination of 72 jobs, but because of vacancies, the number of employees losing their jobs is 46. Port officials said that they hope they will be able to find jobs for some of the workers in other state agencies.
"These are good people," Richard F. Mayer, Mr. Teel's executive assistant, said.
The largest cuts came in the engineering department, where nine people are to be laid off.
The port recently completed a big capital expansion program, and the need for engineering services has declined.
Frank H. Pratka, a labor relations representative for the Maryland Classified Employees Association, said yesterday, "We're very unhappy. We don't believe the state's budget should be balanced on the backs of state employees."
He said that the union will be scrutinizing the list of names to ensure seniority and performance guidelines were followed in selecting those to be laid off.