County staff to learn fate in February BALTIMORE COUNTY 400 to 500 jobs are being dropped due to budget cuts

January 30, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Hundreds of Baltimore County employees whose jobs will be eliminated in February will have to decide on the spot whether to retire, bump to another county job or be laid off, County Executive Roger B. Hayden told labor leaders yesterday.

Mr. Hayden said workers will be told on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12 if their jobs are being eliminated, and whether they have the seniority to bump into another county job, are eligible for retirement or have no option but unemployment. They will have to make their decision at that time, he said.

For those who are laid off, the county will set up a new employee assistance center Feb. 15 on the seventh floor of the Galleria Towers at 1447 York Road.

"The people who think their jobs may be cut better start thinking now" about their choices, Edward M. Pedrick Jr., president of the county's blue-collar union, said after the hastily called meeting.

County budget director Fred Homan has said 400 to 500 county jobs will be eliminated next month, and that 70 percent to 80 percent of them are filled.

Mr. Hayden said the layoffs are the result of lower revenues caused by the recession and cuts in state aid. The reduction in county government should hold the county through the next decade, he added.

But the layoffs will not make up for a $31.7 million budget shortfall projected for this year. Mr. Hayden said he also will announce on Feb. 11 how he intends to make up this year's shortfall.

Mr. Hayden said the assistance center, paid for with federal Job Training Partnership Act money, will be staffed by 12 experienced job placement workers from the county's Community Development Department, which has operated similar programs for private employers.

The service is voluntary and free, he said, and will help laid-off county workers compose a resume, find retraining and learn job application skills. There will be group classes and personal counseling in money and stress management.

The center will operate for at least three months, and possibly longer if needed.

Mr. Pedrick called the center "a good idea," but others were angry.

Susan Orthaus, president of the Professional Staff Nurses Association, told Mr. Hayden that she finds the $1,400 pay raise proposed for county teachers in next year's school budget "troublesome" while other employees are being laid off.

The executive said the school board "must do its thing. When it's my turn to look at what they've done, I'll do my thing."

Karen Jones, a vice president of the classified employees association was bitter about the layoffs after the meeting.

"Every walk of life he [Mr. Hayden] has gone through, he's laid people off," she said, referring to the executive's years at Eastern Stainless Steel and George's Transfer trucking company. "People don't come to work for the county to make big bucks. They get less here," she said, but they don't expect to lose their jobs.

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