Counties Across Maryland Stand Up Against the Shift

On Tuesday, counties across the state joined forces with public employee labor unions, school boards, non-profits, and local government agencies to highlight the crippling effects the pension shift on both the financial health of counties and citizen services.

Allegany and Garret counties hosted a joint-press conference on Tuesday saying that “counties are maxed out.”

Cecil County

Cecil County Board of Commissioners were joined by representatives of Cecil College, Cecil County Teachers Classroom Association, Public Library, and Public Schools Superintendent came together in a united front against the pension shit.

For full coverage of the event, including photos, comments, and video visit the Cecil County Government website.

Charles County

The Charles County Board of Commissioners joined the ranks of other Maryland counties opposing the pension shift hosting a press conference on Tuesday.  The Commissioners were joined by school officials to detail how the shift would impact county services-including education.

Maryland schools have been number one for the fourth year in a row,” Education Association of Charles County President Elizabeth Brown said.  “Shifting costs to the local governments is not what’s good for the children.  Schools are already feeling the pinch from budget cuts and now this shift will create and even greater deficit.  Larger class sizes, fewer programs, eliminated programs and less support for our children will not help Maryland keep its number one standing.  Educators do their part.”

Video of press conference available here

Frederick County
The Board of County Commissioners were joined in opposition to the shift by Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, the Acting President of Frederick Community College, the Director of Frederick County Public Libraries, the leadership of the Frederick County Teachers Association, the Frederick County Deputy Sheriff’s Office Lodge of the FOP, and the Frederick County local of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

To read full coverage of the event, read the Commissioner’s Letter to the Frederick County Delegation.

Prince George’s County
Prince George’s County Council held a press conference where all nine members of the council and representative from school and labor groups were present. The Gazette reports:

“Prince George’s County government has suffered greatly as we’ve had to do more with less, including a $126 million deficit that we have to balance and possible cuts in state aid,” said Council Chairwoman Andrea Harrison (D-Dist. 5) of Springdale in a news conference Tuesday at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to fight this,” she said. “This would hurt us terribly.”

Hugh Weathers, assistant executive director for the Association of Supervisory and Administrative School Personnel, a union that has 817 county school employees as members, said the pension shift would trickle down to affect families who should not be forced to endure further financial hardships.

“That’s where it’s really going to hurt,” Weathers said. “It’s like pouring salt in the wound and asking people to make do with less. This would put families in position where they have to determine if they’re going to pay their gas and electric bills or their car note. There’s got to be a way to fund this at the state level so families don’t get hurt so bad all the time.”

St. Mary’s County
St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners met with the St. Mary’s County Delegation to discuss how school fiances would be impacted by the shift.The Enterprise reports:

Del. Anthony ;”O’Donnell said he opposes shifting any pension costs on to county governments. He also said that shifting approximately one-quarter of the costs, as proposed by the governor, may only be the beginning and that eventually the state may want to shift the entire burden.”

“The counties have already taken a tremendous reduction [in funding] from the state,” Commissioner Jones said.

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