Second public hearing on reorganization set More comment will be allowed

February 24, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The County Council is offering a second chance to those whose attempts to testify on County Executive Robert R. Neall's plan to reorganize county government were cut short last week.

The council has scheduled a second hearing on the proposed bill at 7:30 p.m. today in the Council Chambers in Annapolis. Council members halted a public hearing last Wednesday after they realized they were running out of time and many of the speakers who signed up to testify would get short shrift.

About 17 people signed up to testify last week, but only five spoke before council members cut off the hearing. Most of those who testified worried that programs they support would be cut.

Under the proposal, which deals only with the upper echelons of the government, six county departments will be consolidated into three, and 75 to 100 positions will be eliminated at a savings of $3 million to $4 million, administration officials said during the first hearing.

A second bill is to be submitted along with the budget on April 30 that will restructure the rest of the government. Some 200 to 250 positions are to be eliminated when the restructuring is complete, at a savings of between $8 million and $10 million. Each position cut will save an average of $35,000 in salary and benefits.

Mr. Neall said that more than 100 county employees eventually will lose their jobs. The majority of those will be in administrative support staff positions that are duplicated as a result of the consolidation of the six departments.

"When you take two departments and you put them together, you are going to have duplication," said Dennis Parkinson, Mr. Neall's chief administrative officer. "Over the next nine weeks, we will flesh this out and some of the people in these duplicative positions, these positions will, in fact, be abolished."

One area that will not be cut is public safety, he said.

"Those people who are in the sworn services, the uniformed service, will for the most part not be affected by what we are doing," Mr. Parkinson said. But employees who are not sworn officers or firefighters could be affected.

Mr. Parkinson warned the council that if it did not pass this bill, Mr. Neall would be forced to draft a budget that would include even more layoffs because it would not benefit from the economies of the reorganization.

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