December 16, 2009

Analysis: Union “shocked and disappointed” over pay hike for governor

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The head of the state’s largest public employee union reacted angrily on Wednesday to MarylandReporter.com’s exclusive story on recommended pay raises for the winner of next year’s gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, Gov. Martin O’Malley said he is not interested in a pay increase while the state continues to struggle with budget deficits.

“I don’t intend to take that,” O’Malley said of the proposed $5,000 pay raises for 2012 and 2013. He pointed out that he’s given back $3,100 already this year as part of the state furlough plan.

“Certainly while we’re going through furloughs and layofffs and going through this misery, I don’t intend to take that.”

AFSCME Maryland Director Patrick Moran agreed that the salary increases would not be appropriate.

“AFSCME Maryland is shocked and disappointed by the unanimous recommendations made by the Governor’s Salary Commission on Tuesday night,” he said in a statement. “Their decision that the governor should receive a $5,000 pay raise in 2013 and 2014 is unfathomable in these tough economic times. The commission went even further, recommending 3.3 percent and 3.2 percent pay increases for the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller and the state treasurer.

“Clearly, the commission failed to take into account the fact that our state budget is in deep crisis,” Moran continued. “State workers are enduring furloughs, layoffs, short staffing and increased caseloads — with no relief in sight. These front-line workers who serve the people of Maryland struggle with less and less, while those on the top of the pay scale are now magically being recommended for raises.

“How will these raises be paid for? Will the legislature raise revenues?  Will they cut vital state services, yet again?  Yesterday’s recommendations seemed to have been made in a vacuum, completely ignoring state employees on the bottom of the pay scale, while rewarding those on the very top.  It shouldn’t happen on Wall St. and it certainly shouldn’t happen in the state of Maryland.”

-Len and Andy