Government contractor to move more than 1,000 jobs to Virginia

The Frederick News Post
Loss of over 1,000 jobs in Frederick becomes an issue in the race for governor.

Government contractor Bechtel Corp. announced Tuesday that 1,000 employees now based in Frederick will be moving to offices in Virginia starting next year.

The engineering firm's decision quickly became an issue in the Maryland governor's race, where the candidates have clashed on the issues of state regulations and corporate taxes.

"We are saddened to learn that another 1,100 well-paying jobs will be leaving Maryland for Virginia," Republican nominee Larry Hogan said in a statement. The loss of jobs "will ripple though Frederick as dozens of small businesses — restaurants, repair shops, suppliers, cleaners and delivery firms — will suffer," Hogan said.

Hogan has been critical of the policies of Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Hogan's Democratic rival in the race for governor.

Brown's campaign could not be reached for comment.

Michelle Michael, a spokeswoman for the company, said Bechtel would continue to have a "presence" in Frederick, but would not say how many jobs would remain.

The shift to Reston comes despite a deal by the O'Malley administration in 2011 to keep the jobs in Frederick. Maryland offered to give Bechtel $9.5 million in return for employing at least 1,250 people through 2018.

Karen Glenn Hood, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, said the grant was distributed in yearly installments and not all of the funds have been allocated.

"We were able to keep those employees in Frederick for three years. That helped with income and sales taxes," Hood said. "We worked hard to keep [Bechtel]. We talked with them, but there was nothing we could do. It is for their future growth. It doesn't reflect on Maryland's business climate."

Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young said the move reflects the difficulty of doing business in Maryland. Young, a Republican, is running for county executive of Frederick.

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