- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2002

ANNAPOLIS (AP) Most state workers are accustomed to changes of command every four or eight years, but in Maryland, where Democrats have ruled for more than three decades, it's different.
With the election of Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as governor, thousands have no idea how long they can depend on their state paychecks.
Martha Anderson said she hopes Mr. Ehrlich and his administration will ignore her.
"Hopefully, they'll forget all about me," she said, sipping hot cider at an open house for state workers at Government House, where Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening will live for a few more days.
Miss Anderson works in the land and property division of the state Department of Natural Resources. She is an "at the pleasure" employee, which means she serves at the pleasure of whoever is in power.
The coping strategies for job anxiety among state workers vary. Some employees have sent out resumes. Others convince themselves that their jobs are so specialized or their institutional knowledge so integral that they are immune from unemployment.
Miss Anderson has adopted a dual strategy: part ostrich, part activist. She is keeping her head down, but she also has sent out resumes.
"Nobody's talking yet," she said. "We don't see or hear from the secretary's office on the fourth floor."
Even Richard Tomlinson, Mr. Glendening's photographer for eight years (and Gov. William Donald Schaefer's for six years before that), is worried. He has submitted a resume to Mr. Ehrlich's people.
"I think I'm going to have to retire," he said.
Because it hasn't happened since 1967, few can predict how momentous this Democrat-to-Republican transition will be. Andrea Fulton, executive director of the state Office of Personnel Services and Benefits, doesn't know, either.
Partly at Mr. Ehrlich's request, she has tallied all 61,527 state jobs, including Cabinet secretaries, state police and the chairman of the Maryland Poultry Health Advisory Committee.
Of those, 7,425 are officially "at the pleasure" jobs. The remainder of the jobs are classified as "merit." They don't depend on the vagaries of politics, and the vast majority are union-protected jobs.
Yet many of those workers are jittery because their contracts cannot protect them from budget cuts.
"I take it a day at a time," said Rosemary Burke, a merit employee who works in the Office of the Comptroller. "It could happen to any of us."

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