- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley in his budget plan proposed laying off 700 state employees in response to a $2 billion deficit.

In December 2006, the Baltimore Board of Estimates (BBE) reviewed city salaries. State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy requested “a reasonable salary increase” from the BBE. The BBE voted to increase her salary by $10,000 from $140,000 to a tidy base of $150,000, a 7 percent increase.

Mrs. Jessamy was satisfied with this decision. However Mr. O’Malley thought better of the position and intervened to progressively elevate the salary of this employee to $225,000 annually through 2010, or a whopping 60 percent increase of $85,000. (Daily Record, Baltimore Dec. 21, 2006). Baltimore magazine this year puts her salary at $229,500.

Note: The annual salary of the vice president of the United States and the chief justice of the United States are $221,100 and $217,400 respectively.

Perhaps Mr. O’Malley might reconsider his decision and go along with the $10,000 increase in salary the BBE originally approved - and rescind all but $10,000 of the salary increase and return the $79,500 excess to the state coffers.

One would think the Maryland government would be able to find an entry-level state employee willing to work for a base salary of $79,500 plus benefits. Mr. O’Malley would need to lay off just 699 employees.

MARJORIE SCHLUETER

Crofton, Md.

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