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Hearing on layoff bill is postponed


County Executive Robert R. Neall postponed a hearing on legislation spelling out procedures for laying off county employees late yesterday, even as workers gathered to oppose the measure.

Union members had started congregating outside the Arundel Center in Annapolis for the hearing when Neall announced he wanted to amend the measure before it goes before the public.

"There's a lot of concern about bumping," said county Office of Personnel Director Donald Tynes.

Since the bill was introduced last month, many workers, both union and non-union, have complained that it would not allow "bumping" of junior employees in other departments. A secretary in the Department of Inspections and Permits, for example, could not displace a junior secretary in another department.

"There is a lot of concern that the most-junior person should be the one laid off, and that [workers who had been promoted from one county job to another] should be able to bump back" into the lower-level job, Tynes said.

None of the six unions that negotiate with the county has contracts allowing for inter-departmental bumping, Tynes said. But he and Neall have heard enough support for it that they are considering including such bumping rights in the layoff bill, he said.

An amended layoff bill will be reintroduced later this month, Neall aides said.

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