O'Malley buyout plan is unfair

December 13, 2010

As a soon-to-be 40-year state employee, I and many of my public safety peers are wondering about the fairness of Gov. Martin O'Malley's buyout offer, since virtually all of us — parole and probation agents and supervisors, state police officers and correctional officers, for example — are on the long exclusion list. However other employees of the same and other agencies who are in very limited or unique job classifications and who may have relatively limited experience apparently are not excluded.

Perhaps its just the luck of the draw, but for us long-suffering, thrice-furloughed, increment and cost of living increase-deprived cogs in the wheel who, in spite of all that and unprecedented workloads to boot, labor mightily out in every community to keep citizens safe and the machinery of state government in operation, this is just another blow to morale which barely even registers. Yet we'll keep on because, in spite of cheap shots like your throw-away line in Sunday's editorial ("The benefit of buyouts," Dec. 12) about "getting rid of bureaucrats," the vast majority of us are professionals.

But wait — maybe there's a point after all. Here's a suggestion: why not dispatch legislative auditors to the various headquarters offices of state agencies to stroll about and observe and perhaps ask folks what they actually do each day? They might just identify more than a few of those needed 500 jobs to abolish among the army of deputies and special assistants and staffers (read: bureaucrats) they are sure to find. Conscientious citizens may want to know why the state is willing to pay $15,000-plus per head for what state agencies should be doing routinely when allocating their very limited resources anyway.

Richard E. Wachter, Baltimore

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