Howard County managers and supervisors will be included in any budget-cutting layoffs, says County Executive Charles I. Ecker.
"Layoffs must include managers/supervisors," Mr. Ecker said this week in a memo to department heads. The word "must" is in boldface letters.
Mr. Ecker acknowledged yesterday that higher-level employees could lose their jobs when he gives the council his proposals to trim $7.5 million from the county's $270 million operating budget. The department heads have been asked to submit their suggestions for cuts to Mr. Ecker by Tuesday.
"We have to look at management and not just the workers to see if there is anything we can cut out," he said.
The county already has cut $16 million from the budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 by lopping 40 employees from the payroll in the first major layoff in county history. Eleven of those employees have been rehired in new county jobs.
Mr. Ecker's memo asks each department head for a list of reductions equal to 15 percent of the department's budget.
The potential cuts are to be listed by priority, with the savings for each reduction and the impact on the service or program.
The memo also asks for the names and positions of employees who drive county vehicles to and from work, suggesting take-home vehicles will be among the cuts.
Mr. Ecker, who has said that layoffs and furloughs are likely to offset cuts in state aid, said yesterday that he has prefiled legislation with the council that would permit him to furlough employees. "I know that this is a difficult task, but it must be done," his memo said. "We can not end the year in a deficit, and we can not increase taxes in midyear."