Baltimore County officials were preparing today to field the last wave of applications for the county's early retirement incentive program, and said they had already seen 590 people step forward.

Don Mohler, chief of staff for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, said the deadline for employees to apply to the program was the close of business today, Friday, Dec. 30.

In September, the county announced plans to offer the early retirement incentive to some 1,100 eligible county employees, with a goal of trimming some 200 positions. The overall county workforce is about 8,000.

Mohler said Friday that officials were confident they would get to the 200 mark — especially considering that more 590 people had applied by Dec. 15, two weeks before the deadline.


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But that doesn't mean all those would qualify, he said.

The goal of the program is to reduce the overall county work force, and that means only positions that can be eliminated will be considered, he said.

"They have to be jobs that we can actually eliminate," Mohler said.

Not all categories of workers were eligible. The program did not apply to police officers below the rank of lieutenant, firefighters below the rank of captain, deputy sheriffs, correctional officers, 911 center personnel, public health nurses, social workers and appointed department heads.

Administration officials said in October that trimming the positions could save about $14 million a year.

Mohler said that after the Friday deadline, it might be early next week before officials have the final tally of applicants.

Reporter Jon Meoli contributed to this story.