Council OKs plan to reorganize Baltimore Co. government

The Baltimore County Council, five of whose members are newly elected to office, unanimously approved a government reorganization Monday that could save about $8 million. The plan, proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, consolidates several county departments and eliminates more than 140 positions, most of which are currently vacant.

The plan calls for folding three agencies — the Office of Community Conservation, the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Workforce Development — into existing departments, combining the jobs of labor commissioner and human resources director, and merging the duties of three other positions into an Office of Administrative Law.

"These are organizational changes that will promote efficiency," said Fred Homan, the county administrative officer.

Four department head positions would be cut under the plan and 143 vacant jobs will not be filled. Cutting those jobs would save $7.2 million and the four department heads' salaries and benefits total more than $750,000, Kamenetz said in announcing the plan last month. The cuts represent a small fraction of the county's budget and its more than 3,700 employees.

Under the plan, the Office of Community Conservation would be consolidated into the offices of planning, public works and social services. The Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management would absorb the Office of Sustainability. The Office of Workforce Development would be merged into the Office of Economic Development.

In other actions, the council approved five Kamenetz appointees as various department heads. It also unanimously approved councilman John A. Olszewski Jr. as chairman for 2011.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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