Plan to trim government would eliminate top jobs Neall wants to consolidate agencies

February 02, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

County Executive Robert R. Neall's plan for reorganizing government, which was submitted to the council for approval last night, will focus mostly on white-collar jobs and should save "multimillions" of dollars, officials said.

The bill submitted yesterday establishes a structure for upper level departments and offices as the first step in a reorganization that could cost more than 100 employees their jobs.

A second bill dealing with the lower levels of government will be submitted later.

Dennis Parkinson, Mr. Neall's chief executive officer, said the reorganization will "shrink the government at the upper echelons.

"You don't see this happening anywhere else in Maryland," he said. "We haven't started at the bottom, like other county governments have."

Mr. Parkinson said that because Mr. Neall wanted to preserve as many constituent services as possible, most of the reorganization will affect administrative, white-collar jobs.

Officials have not been able to pin down exactly how much will be saved by reorganizing, but "we're looking at multimillions of dollars in savings," Mr. Parkinson said.

The precise number of layoffs also is not known and probably won't be until the budget is submitted on May 3 or possibly later.

When Mr. Neall unveiled his plan last month, he said more than 100 employees could lose their jobs.

Mr. Parkinson defended Mr. Neall's decision to ask for the resignation of two department heads, Tom Neel of utilities and Parker Andrews of public works. Mr. Neel was regarded by many in government, including the county executive, as an excellent administrator and several council members questioned the dismissal of the two department heads.

Mr. Neall felt that the two men built up the departments over several years, and "he felt that there was

way he could ask these incumbents to sit there and take these departments apart," Mr. Parkinson said.

He denied that Mr. Andrews had been asked to leave because Mr. Neall was unhappy with his handling of the Millersville Landfill. After chronic problems, the landfill was taken away from Mr. Andrews' public works department and placed under the supervision of Mr. Neel's utilities department.

"There was nothing punitive about it," Mr. Parkinson said. "These were people who were eligible for retirement, who were asked to retire, so we could get on with downsizing."

The bill submitted to the council yesterday simply details proposals already announced by Mr. Neall.

County offices and departments would be organized into three core groups: administrative, land use-environmental and human services.

The offices of Budget and Finance would be combined, the utilities department would be folded into public works, and the departments of planning and zoning and inspections and permits would be joined to form the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement.

The administrative core group would include the offices of budget and finance, central services and personnel.

The land use-environmental group would include the public works and planning departments.

The human services group would include the departments of aging, recreation and parks, health and social services.

Reporting directly to the county executive are the chief of staff, the Office of Law, the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Department of Detention Facilities.

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