Regulatory Reform: Share Your Suggestions

Oct 18, 2011   //   by administrator   //   Policy Recommendations, Regulation  //  352 Comments

Editors Note: Thank you for all of your insightful feedback and suggestions. We will collect and analyze all of these posts and add them to the Maryland Regulation Review report that will be provided to the Governor in the following weeks.

Feedback, questions or comments on how we can continue to make it easier to do business in Maryland are always welcome.  Click here to contact Maryland Made Easy administrator Rich Higgins.

Governor O’Malley recently signed an executive order calling for a 60-day state review of current state regulations with the intent of changing and/or eliminating regulations in order to spark faster job creation. Our Cabinet Secretaries have already started the review process and will be submitting reports to the Governor in a few weeks. Part of that report will be feedback and suggestions from Marylanders.

Do you have a suggestion on a regulation that can be eliminated or reformed? Leave it below. Our team will be reviewing and monitoring comments and your feedback will be added to the report sent to the Governor. Thanks in advance for helping to build a stronger future for our state.

352 Comments

  • As innovative and good intentioned as MD Comptroller Peter Franchot’s mission is to create new innovative partnerships to collect monies that are owed the state; the Summer bill partnering the MVA with the MD Comptroller prohibiting the MVA from renewing the driver’s license, renewing a vehicle registration, or transferring a vehicle registration of an applicant who has not paid all undisputed taxes due to the Comptroller; is a mission that has lead to enforceable and severe laws that have been poorly communicated to the residents of Maryland. These programs were designed at their core to be “income generating” programs for the state, without any consideration of the extenuating circumstances facing 1000’s of Maryland residents during this slow economic recovery.
    I believe this law is harsh and needs to be revoked. People in Maryland are struggling period. Residents affected by this law should not be judged and accused as if they are deliberate and routine tax offenders. If people could afford to pay their tax bills on time, they would period!

  • Get rid of some of those red light,speed, and blue light cameras. Hire more police and state police.

  • good stuff,

    I think the measures that have been put in place are great.
    This could not only encourage more entrepreneurial activity but also provides benefits to our communities.

  • Make Maryland “Shall Issue” when it comes to concealed carry permits.
    This will make us safer by lowering the crime rate.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, you had a chance to make a huge change in the last election. A lot of you blew it so don’t complain now. As the old saying goes “You made your bed” …..
    I didn’t vote for the current adminstration because I just knew things would only get worse and so it has…
    Do you really think this forum will bring about any reform? I don’t.

  • Re-institute free enterprise for citizens and abandon the socialism that has infected this state.

  • Take our sales tax back to the 5% it was when the recession began. Roll back ridiculous “taxes” on home building and business expansion. Reduce the state income tax and the real estate taxes(property tax, transfer taxes), also reduce the state gas tax. Maryland costs wat too much to live in, do business in or vacation in. We pay way too much before we even calculate the costs of goods and services.

    Also, an instant income producer for the state would be to become a “shall issue” state in regards to concealed carry permits. There are millions of dollars going to other states that offer non-resident carry permits and MD is missing the boat.

  • Slash taxes, slash fees, slash spending, slash everything that is not essential to the MINIMAL operation of the state. Make regulations and enforcement business coopreative. Eliminate laws that restrict the decent law abiding citizenry and enforce mandatory sentences on the criminal constituency that truely is the plauge of our state and all other states in similar circumstances. Enforce immigration laws so jobs will be available to Marylanders. End the cycle of poverty by mandating work for benefits exept for the PHYSICALLY disabled. This would be a good start.

  • I recently moved here from CT. The Hartford area was very pedestrian and bike friendly. Here, there are places where you either have to walk in the street or the grass (and hope you don’t twist your ankle because you didn’t see the hole in front of you covered by the grass). I was able to ride my bike to work in Hartford but I would never do that in Hunt Valley. Drivers here don’t care that bikers have just as much right to the roadways as they do. Every corner should have a pedestrian crossing. What really irks me is that I believe it is a law to yield to pedestrians in walkways but many times, drivers have turned their heads as if to not notice I was there and they just kept on going. I don’t drive and I either walk or use mass transit to get to where I need to go. If a bus breaks down and nothing is sent to replace it, people are stuck out waiting for the next bus to come. Some of us have jobs to go to, children to pick up at a certain time and doctors to go to. While MTA has tried to make the website so fancy, they have neglected the light rail stops (some with the stench of urine and whatever else people are doing there) and the buses. I thought is was an ADA requirement that bus drivers have to announce major stops? If the bus isn’t talking, the driver should be making announcements just as the automated voice would. Why doesn’t the light rail stop where there are major businesses? For example, why is there not a stop at Texas Station? Why is it that there are no bus stops near Walmart on York Road (or for that matter, why isn’t there a bus that goes down York Road from Hunt Valley)? I agree with a few of the posters here on the privatization of the MTA. How can you police a function when you are a part of it? I’m not sure who are all the people that are currently making decisions for the mass transit but do any of these people USE mass transit? When I call for directions on what bus I need to take to get someplace, I’m hoping the person knows what they are talking about. Most of the time, I wind up on a wild goose chase (once it took me an hour to get to someplace it should have only taken 15 minutes to get to). Thank you.

  • One of the biggest problems in the Greater DC metro region is the cost and time it takes to commute to work. With no real longterm solution in sight, the residents of this region are left with two options – spend a good portion of their paycheck in commuting costs or spend a good portion of their life in traffic. The current public transportation options provide some relief. However, they are concentrated on helping commuters to either the District or Downtown Baltimore. But, there are no other viable option for the other job centers sprinkled throughout the region including Northern Virigina.

    To solve this issue, I am suggesting that the government initiates steps to create a new network of privately funded commuter bus routes in the greater DC metro region. The routes should crisscross the entire region, even extending into N.Virginia (unless there are laws that prevent that from happening).

    The private sector role:
    - Provide funding for the service.
    - Provide personnel for the service.
    - Establish routes and timing with help from commuters and Government.

    The government’s role:
    - Establish rules and regulations.
    - Provide safety training to drivers.
    - Provide free parking at government facilities.
    - Provide priority and toll-free access to buses on State managed roads.
    - Ensure fair competition among the various operators.
    - Transfer the MTA Commuter bus service to one of the privately funded commuter bus operators.
    - If financially feasible, provide loan guarentees to private operators to help with their capital costs.

    Benefits:
    - Provide more commuting options to residents of the state.
    - Very little state funding needed to start.
    - If the MTA commuter bus service is transferred to a private operator, it takes the load out of state budget.
    - Takes workers to whereever the jobs are located, instead of enticing companies to set up shop here in Maryland (remember Northrop Grumman and Bechtel).
    - May help in reducing pollution by taking cars out of our roads.
    - Helps low and middle income families move around the entire region in search of jobs.

  • Maryland regulations provide guidance for measuring radiation exposure to providers who deliver patient care using x-ray based technology in interventional procedures. The regulations apply only to providers, not patients. Building upon existing regulatory powers afforded to the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) for this purpose, we recommend certain changes to incorporate existing relevant national standards into the Maryland regulatory structure. Current regulations are out of date and not reflective of principles in effect for more that 15 years in surrounding states of Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Most other states permit automatic use of the recommended standards. These standards for measuring radiation exposure to providers are supported by scientists and regulators from around the world, including the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Council of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD), representing radiation safety regulators from across the country.

    Regulatory oversight should be consistent with the best of modern science to ensure patient access to critical life saving care, avert loss of specialists to other states, ensure delivery of the most appropriate, minimally invasive procedures, and promote both cost effective and better patient outcomes. Patient procedures that require use of image-guided x-ray based technology cover a broad spectrum of pathologies, extending from acute trauma, strokes, and heart attacks to more chronic diseases such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), uterine fibroids, and liver and kidney cancers. These patient procedures replace higher risk and more costly surgeries, and allow patients to have less painful treatment, decreased recovery times and improved outcomes.

    The recommended standards require that during the performance of any x-ray based procedure, a provider must wear both protective gear and a single radiation detection badge or two detection badges (with one worn under a protective lead apron). The badges measure the amount of surface radiation exposure to the provider during a given time period (normally a month). The scientific standards allow the surface radiation readings to be adjusted to account for the protective gear that all providers must wear. This adjustment or “weighting factor” approach more accurately measures the actual radiation exposure, ensuring that providers are not exposed to unsafe levels of radiation while caring for their patients. In the surrounding states, as well as in many other states, a “weighting factor” is automatically applied to the single or dual badge readings.

    Conversely, MDE only allows use of a “weighting factor” on a case-by-case basis and does not recognize the two badge method for measuring radiation exposure. This case-by-case determination results in exactly the kind of overly burdensome reporting and data submissions that the Governor is hoping to eliminate through this current regulatory examination.

    We recommend revised regulations that will provide a registrant with continuing automatic approval for such usage. When an individual’s external (collar) badge exceeds 25% (1.25 REM) of the 5 REM annual limit, a facility can automatically apply one of the alternative methodologies for calculating effective dose equivalents. For potentially dangerous exposures at 80% of the maximum level, we propose a “Special Safety Alert” which will require a facility to alert MDE and substantiate safety measures to avoid maximum exposure. Then, if any provider reaches the maximum radiation exposure limit, the facility must immediately notify MDE and the provider must immediately cease use of any x-ray based procedures for the balance of the calendar year.

    Currently, adequate oversight for hospital and physician compliance with this process already occurs both externally by MDE, and internally by each hospital. MDE hires radiation machine inspectors to serve as its agents in the field, inspecting machines for certification every two years. In reality, hospitals have all equipment inspected annually to ensure safety and compliance with the Joint Commission on Accreditation requirements. MDE also performs unannounced inspections through its Radioactive Materials Section. MDE can also impose a penalty of up to $1,000 per day for civil violations and up to $10,000 per day for criminal violations.

    In addition, each hospital convenes a Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). The requirement for an RSC stemmed from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulations. Although the NRC only regulates radioactive materials (not radiation machines), the RSC has assumed responsibility for oversight of radiation machines. In addition, each hospital’s program is overseen by a Radiation Safety Officer whose primary (sole?) function is to ensure compliance. The RSO reviews personnel exposures RSC to ensure that staff exposures are “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” (ALARA). The committee discusses staff doses, the appropriateness of staff exposures and methods for reducing elevated staff exposures. When a practitioner exceeds the 5 REM limit, the RSO must report to the state.

    In summary, we recommend that MDE adopt this practical, science-based approach to this process. The goal is to protect individuals who are occupationally exposed to radiation during medical procedures without creating undue interference to the practice of medicine resulting from overly conservative accounting of radiation exposure.

  • Employment Opportunities:
    Give a TAX BREAK to employers who hire OVERQUALIFIED workers for lower paying jobs in the same way that Macy’s and others get a tax break for hiring those on welfare.I applied to Macy’s!

    I am 65 with 3 masters degrees, a doctorate, and am a board certified chaplain. In this economy I can only obtain day work as a contracter with a tourism company.

    Hire me and many others with degrees as classroom assistants in the school—.low pay but benefits. Baltimore City would win and so would the underemployed. As a substitute teacher
    I had all the responsibility, no benefits, no sick leave or paid holidays.

    I am tired of hearing that I am overqualified, while those who have not worked as hard have preference in hiring. Thanks for the opportunity to submit this suggestion.

  • I am a registered massage therapist working in the Timonium area. I have been a therapist since 2000 in various states (CA, MI and now MD). While I am pleased that Maryland has a statewide licensure for massage therapists, the system needs to be re-examined and streamlined. According to what I have been told by the Board of Chiropractic Examiners and Massage Therapists (the division of the DHMH which oversees massage therapy) the current two tiered system of licensure (that of Licensed Massage Therapist vs Registered Massage Practitioner) was not what was originally proposed back in 1997 and was imposed on the board by legislators in Annapolis. This largely artificial distinction can make it tricky for therapists to be sure that they are in full compliance with the laws of the state. And failure to comply can result in fines or suspension of license.
    I have also heard it said that Maryland is the MOST expensive state in the union to be a therapist in. Certainly the way in which licenses are issued and renewed doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense or be very fair.
    I could really go on and on about this but the long and the short of it is this: Maryland is just hard to be a therapist in. People here clearly want to get massage, but if regulation/licensure isn’t streamlined somewhat the number of therapists in the state will decrease rather than increase. I know that I have certainly considered leaving the profession while I continue to live in Maryland.

  • Governor O’Malley’s office,
    Please see reply comment to James Maltba’s concern he posted on November 1. As a concerned business owner, I am HOPEFUL for a response and some intervention in this very real situation.

    I am appreciative of the ability to voice my opinion on this board, and I am sure others are as well. I am hopeful I will receive an email from your office as soon as possible, and as your office reads through the comments, the truly pervasive issues will come to light.

  • Since government is supposed to work for us, shouldn’t permitting agencies (such as the MDE) not only give you the “Four Easy Steps” for filling out permits–shouldn’t they also aid you in filling out such application forms when requested? Simplifying some of these informational requests on behalf of the state would also help. We have all sorts of programs to help low-income people when they need legal help, etc., but we provide nothing for the “Mom and Pop” businesspeople who are in that middle-income area. “Mom and Pop” businesses are going by the wayside because we simply can’t afford to hire “experts” to do this type of work for us.

    Additionally, there needs to be a “loser pays” law in Maryland regarding lawsuits. This law is in many other states, and it would elminate frivolous lawsuits and/or claims that drastically interfere with a growing business’s economic health and reputation.

  • Maryland Transit Administration is a landmark anchor of how Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and the whole state of Maryland connects together.
    1.) BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is the hub point air travel in a big state, but there is not enough frequent connection to other areas traveled by bus. So, two proposed “EXPRESS” bus lines should be in consideration: Route 140 to Annapolis (via I-97), Route 100 to Columbia (via MD-Rte. 100, Snowden River Pkwy., Broken Land Pkwy.) this giving riders wanting to get to our state’s capitol and the rapidly growing city of Columbia and Mall in Columbia.
    2.) With this the “QUICKBUS” service among riders like me getting to/from school a rapid fast way to to Downtown, but its appearance is seemingly unnoticed. With no private stop or own buses for that matter confuses a would be rider rather or not their bus is approaching from another line. So, why not build a low-funded bus stop with a similar style look except has new semi-circle, gold-and-red sign on a silver layer pole or post, as well the curb of the sidewalk where the bus will board patrons be spray-painted with the “qb” logo just inches from the bus sign.

    3.) The “QuickBus” and “Express” bus fleet will stand out from the local fleet. Known as QuickBus/Express vehicles, they will be selected choices or brand new hybrid buses of around 70 vehicles in fleet. Majority be 40-footers and 5-10 vehicles be 60-footers that will be configured to a “Quickbus/Express” only look. Exterior: the new paint scheme a silver body with a red-and-black wave that is thinly outlined with gold. Interior: semi-suburban configuration with soft cushion seats; overhead baggage racks at front portion of bus; two small visible trash cans located at front and rear doorways; and the floor will receive “qb” logo decals in doorways, because majority use will operate on QuickBus lines during their shift.

    4.) Two new QuickBus lines. The Route qb43 from Inner Harbor to Goucher Blvd. & Taylor Avenue and qb49 from State Center to Goucher Blvd. & Taylor Avenue

  • DLLR Unemployment —needs an overhaul. There are a number of issues which need to be addressed…

    PRN (Per Required Need) staff needs to be a classification and a factor considered when granting benefits. PRN staff is essential to staffing Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Rehab facilities and Accredited Home Care Agencies. Currently a significant number of individuals, who will secure PRN positions, refuse to work, and apply for unemployment benefits… and they game the system (collecting benefits) because DLLR shoehorns everything into two classes (Full Time and Part Time).

    The timeliness of DLLR Unemployment granting credits back to employers and their collection of over payments to claimants. I have experience several instance in which claimants have been paid $5000- $8000 in benefits, which should not have been granted. In fact in two instance it has take a year or longer for the DLLR to take any action. This really hurts reimbursable employers…we pay out of pocket large sums of money only to be told “we have not received overpayment money so you don’t get a credit”. How do Maryland employers create jobs and expand when forced to pay for DLLR Unemployment failures and inefficacy?

    Communications need to improve. The DLLR Unemployment agency is very quick to send a “Request for Separation Information”; however, they often are slow or fail all together to respond to inquiries from employers. When does the mission of the DLLR Unemployment agency become one which serves all equally (Claimants and Employers)?

  • We are sitting on a gold mine and not realizing it. Many people in Baltimore/Washington area prefer BWI Airport over any other airport. But unfortunately, it offers very limited international flights. Our International Trade Specialists from DBED need to start pushing hard for these International Airlines Market. If airlines like Air France, Luftansa, Singapore Air lines, Korean Air lines, Air India, Quatar, Kuwait, and KLM etc. land at least once a week at BWI, we can generate enormous revenue for Maryland, and create more job opportunities. Now unfortunately, almost all the business is going to Dulles International Airport, Virginia, and we seem to be sucking our thumb and watching it. It is high time, we become aggressive in our Marketing efforts.

    Also promote our Airport as Baltimore-Washington International Airport. It is a great name. It was a mistake to change the name as “Marshall”. Keep the “Marshall” name in the background, muted. Thanks!

    Dan

  • Amend the crabbing regulations. Female crabs only mate one time and that is when transitioning from immature to mature. She will lay eggs (as a 5 inch crab) until no longer pregnant, at which point she will begins to grow again. Harvesting post-breeding age female crabs will not impact population long term. Keep regs at 5″ for males; make regs for females a minimum of 6″ to ensure no females capable of reproduction are harvested. Allowing recreational crabbers to keep such females would actually help long term populations by reducing the number of males harvested as females would replace some males in each creel limit harvested. Check my facts with the DNR scientists and change the regs!!! Thank you Governor O’Malley for the opportunity to comment. It is hard to locate public hearings and every time I do, it is after they have occurred.

  • Give your DLLR Maryland Unemployment webpage a facelift. Stop trying to make it so inviting for employees to file false unemployment claims that waste the state’s time and employers time. Some of these claims slip through and the rate goes up. Your website invites false claims – It screams, “Don’t worry about the reason you were fired, just go ahead and apply now and you will get a free debit card!”

  • You want to create jobs in Maryland? Legalize gay marriage here. Wedding planners, card shops, limo rental services, flower shops, hotels, inns, motels, wedding photographers, caterers, cake makers, and jewelers will all benefit from it. Not to mention all the stores that couples normally register their bridal registry. These businesses will make so much money from it and have so much new business, that they will hire hundreds of assistants in order to cope. It’s the easiest solution to simultaneously helping small, medium, and big businesses. And since gay marriage is still illegal in pretty much all of our neighboring states other than DC, we would have a massive influx of couples coming to Maryland just to get married. Right now, Maryland couples are leaving MD to go to DC to get married, and all this money is being drained in that direction, away from our state. Do the right thing for Maryland business, legalize gay marriage today.

    • I agree. Marylanders of all walks of life want their children to live in a loving, stable, committed home – protected under the law. As a free and diverse people of many faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles or beliefs, among them “equal protection of the law” for every individual and the “free exercise” of religion without government intervention. Other states have found a way to protect both these rights. So should Maryland. That’s why in the 2012 legislative session, we plan to introduce legislation that will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law. http://www.marylandersformarriageequality.org/

  • In order to create new jobs or save existing ones in the private sector, the state should stop competing with the private sector.

    1. The state should not operate any program that is also operated or could be operated by the private sector, especially when it costs more to do so. Close the RICAs and privatize foster care.

    2. Eliminate the ability of state agencies to award contracts to state universities without a competitve bid. There is no transparency or accountability in this process. The university contracts are often heavily padded with various faculty that never do any actual work on the contract. Much of the work of these contracts could easily be done more cost effectively by the private sector.

  • I agree that things need to change for Massage Therapists, we have worked hard to get people to look at us as true practitioners instead of “shady” places. We need to be able to pursue CEU’s with out paying alot, as well as the cost of our licenses. I think we need to be removed from the same class as the Chiropractors……we are not doctors why are we regulated by a doctors board???

  • Provide small business with less than 10 employee to hire people on unemployment a business tax credit. The current tax credits for business are for large numbers of hires and larger business. Only requirements would be to keep them off unemployment for a period of at least 12 months. I also would look into all the existing tax credits available and reduce the requirements. I also would provide exemption of Md tax witholdings for at least six months of persons who would make $10 an hr. or less curently unemployed so they could get a jump start into the future. Giving the opportunity of work will encourage growth and the vision of moving on to bigger and better paying jobs. Thank you John

  • Thank you for taking the time to consider citizens’ suggestions!

    I live in Frederick County, and I would be thrilled to be able to buy raw milk from a local dairy instead of going to Virginia or Pennsylvania. Retail prices for raw milk are three to six times higher than the prices milk processors will pay even for Organic milk. Even eliminating the law against herd-shares would help Maryland dairy farmers increase their gross sales and hire employees. When I lived in Massachusetts, I worked on a 30 cow raw milk dairy that had two full time employees and two part time employees. I know Maryland dairy farmers who are struggling even to pay themselves despite milking 150 cows.

    • Please consider allowing MD residents to purchase raw milk. Why does the state have to ‘regulate’ something that those wanting to purchase this product have to go out of state? The risk from drinking raw milk is not even close to that of drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes and yet those that want to purchase it cannot. So many MD dollars are spent in PA on products because MD has laws that are outrageous. What happens at the MD/PA border that makes these products safe?

  • Reduce the requirements for a wholesale vehicle dealer license. Currently to get a wholesale license you need an office, a land line phone in the company name and have to have the office staffed for at least 20 hours a week. This office cannot be in a home, unless it is completely separate from the living quarters. In other words, you can’t convert a bedroom or den into the office.

    Most wholesale dealers spend most of their time on the road. They are either at other dealers, or at dealer auctions, trying to buy and sell cars. Many of the auctions are located out of state (PA, VA and NJ) so on days that they attend the auctions they are not in the office. Many times they do not get back from the auctions until late afternoon. To have the office staffed for at least 20 hours during so called “normal business hours” requires that the dealer hire someone to sit and baby sit the office, adding a cost that provides little to no benefit.

    Most also use cell phones to do business, so the requirement for a landline phone is again an additional cost with no benefit.

    Other states have much less onerous requirements. People can open a wholesale dealership in those states, and do the same business (buying and selling at auctions) with a license in those states, and many do.

    Changing the rules to allow in home offices, and to eliminate the requirement of 20 hours a week would make it easier for people who want to go into the business to get a legal license, and would also increase the revenue that the state collects in licensing fees. As it is now, there are many people who are in business with out of state licenses, leaving MD with nothing.

    With the current technology, dealers can keep full and complete records with a computer and a scanner. There is no reason for a physical office requirement. $400 or more a month in office rent, $800 a month or so for someone to sit in that office, and $50 a month or more for a phone line means that there is a $1250 per month ($17,500) per year cost to have a MD license. This does not include the licensing fees, and other costs such as required insurances and bonds.

    If you reduce that cost more people would become licensed in MD, and those that are able to make money would then be hiring more people.

    • The wholesalers should be required to have a concrete location so that it is easier for title services to track down the wholesaler when there is an issue. The Maryland wholesales should be concerned with all the the wholesale dealers from other states coming into Maryland to sell vehicles. There are many out of state “dealers” that are operating illegally in this state.

  • Drop the regulations prohibiting so-called “Cottage Industries.” My daughter wanted to start a home business providing custom cakes and cupcakes but the law requires that she must have a commercial kitchen license to do so. She made an agreement with a local business that allows her to use their kitchen but to do so she has to do her baking between 3:00 and 5:00 AM so she won’t interfere with the businesses needs. She has two small children and it is almost impossible to juggle her schedules. If she could work at home she could certainly take on more business and actually make some money but it is currently illegal for her to do so. I believe the regulatory boards get loaded with other owners of successful businesses and they use there presence to squelch competition and/or startups. Relaxing the ban on so called Cottage industries would allow a lot of Marylanders to start a business and use their profits to eventually fund a dedicated premises that they could grow into. People could then start up a new business with a lot lessup front costs. It would cost her thousands to start up under current reguaaltions. My daughter coould hire an assistant instead of spending everything she makes on child care services.

  • Regarding much needed changes to regulations to put loads of Massage Therapists to work in MD:

    • Eliminating the restrictive requirement on new Massage Schools that want to start in MD and that they must be accredited day 1. This keeps any new independent Massage Schools from opening in the state unless they are a branch of a national chain accredited in another state.
    • Eliminate the restrictive obstacles for Massage Therapists transferring from other states which courses and credit hours may be slightly different and not taking into account experience which penalizes the Therapist and keeps the trained Therapist from working in the state helping the economy.
    • Allow Massage Therapist graduates to work provisionally while they are waiting for their national and state tests to be completed which is an unnecessarily long process. We are losing vast amounts of graduates due to this wait time because they cannot afford the delay after spending a year and thousands of dollars on their schooling.

    • i agree with everything written! especially being a therapist who has moved from another state….i also think that the prices for the CEU classes are ridiculous!

  • The Problem is the unnecessary regulations in COMAR 10.32.01.03: 03 Licensure — Qualifications for initial physician licensure, Section G. Examination and the prohibitive nature of the current regulations and the qualification requirements to obtain initial licensure to practice medicine in the State of Maryland. The negative impacts of this regulation, as it is currently, are the following:
    · Has led to the Inability of the state in reaching all the highly qualified physicians
    · Has clearly a negative impact on Maryland’s economy and job creation and
    · Therefore is a bad regulation that needs to be amended and/or modified.

    Here are the list of reasons why the regulation stated in COMAR 10.32.01.03, section G. Examination has negative impact on Maryland economy:

    1. COMAR 10.32.01.03, section G. Examination, item 3 –States that if an applicant has three fails on any of the examination or combination of examination listed in G(1) “shall submit evidence of having successfully completed one year of accredited clinical postgraduate medical education.”
    Although this is a logical statement if the applicant has just completed their residency program, it is not a reasonable approach for the applicant who is already board certified and has several years of uninterrupted clinical practice in another state. In reviewing other states regulations on the above issue, number of attempts on examinations (USMLE Steps), it is important to note that majority of states grant license under waiver in circumstances that the applicant is board certified and is in practice for x number of years.

    2. COMAR 10.32.01.03, Section G. Examination, item 8-states that the Board shall license an applicant who has passed examinations specified in G(1)(d),(e), or (g), of this regulation in more than 10 years, if the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board, that the applicant passed all steps of the examination combination with no more than two fails on each step and meets one of the stated criteria in the regulation. (Please refer to the COMAR for the detail of the regulation)

    The limitations with the item G (3) and G(8) of the current regulation are; the two items are considered as completely separate and are not interrelated. That is, if an applicant has already satisfied the requirements on number of attempts on examination under G(3) of the regulations, by completing 1 additional year of accredited clinical postgraduate medical education, applicant is still ineligible to license under G(8), if applicant has exceeded the 10 years limitations and has more than two fails, even though the applicant meets the criteria under G(8) regulation, i.e. board certification, and being in clinical practice for more than 3 years. This is due to the fact that the justifications for the number of attempts under G(3) of the regulation is not accepted for the number of attempts requirements under the G(8) of the regulation, because these two items (G3 and G8) of the regulations are exclusive of each other. There is inconsistency in these two regulations and unnecessary.

    Additionally, Section G (8) of the regulations states “with not more than two fails on each steps”, where as G(3) of the regulations states that the applicant should not have more than three fails on each steps. Why is that more than two fails unacceptable under G(8) but acceptable under G(3) of the regulations? This is inconsistent and unconvincing.

    The Issues with retaking USMLE Steps sequence-Under the current regulations, if it has been more than 10 years since the applicant passed the then-current exam and the applicant does not meet 2 fails limitation in G(8)- then the applicant is required to retake licensing USMLE exam sequence in order to become eligible to be licensed, regardless if the applicant is board certified and in practice for more than 5 years. This is a bad regulation and unnecessary. As majority of the physicians agree with me, USMLE exams are not the exams that can be taken everyday. According to the recent study by American Medical Association (AMA), there can be considerable expenses in terms of time and cost associated with preparing and taking the exam, particularly for specialists, who have limited the scope of their practice and who may have had no recent exposure to some areas covered in the general exam.

    The policy change recommendations: Simplify the law by removing the unnecessary regulations in G(3) and G(8) with the below proposed changes;
    1) Remove the fails restriction in G(8) and keep the three criteria stated in G(8) of the regulations unchanged (Please refer to the COMAR for the detail of the regulation)
    2) Amend G (3) of the regulations, to allow a waiver for the applicant who is board certified and is in practice for 3 years. The Board shall grant license under these circumstances. However, if applicant is not meeting these criteria, the applicant must complete one additional year of post-graduate training.

    I have been personally affected by these unnecessary regulations and know others who are in the same situation. I have double specialty board certifications (Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine), and licensed in three states (VA, DC and DE) with active practice in Virginia and DC for more than 5 years. Since people are living longer with chronic disease related burden and utilize most health care dollars, Palliative Care is most needed with current demographic shift in our state. The field of Palliative care is expanding significantly since it has become one of the driver of cost savings and thus has a great impact on the current economy of the healthcare system and the healthcare delivery. According to the recent study in journal of Health Affairs, Palliative Medicine saves State Medicaid dollars. Interestingly, in Maryland out of approximately 20,000 licensed physicians only about 54 physicians are board certified in palliative medicine. And yet physicians like me are carved out due to the unnecessary policies and regulations. When I asked other physicians in Virginia, I am shocked that many have expressed same frustration and have the same reason for not practicing in Maryland, predominantly the International Medical Graduates.

    In review of the physician licensing regulations by other states that are comparable in demographics with Maryland, such as VA, PA, NY and District of Columbia, these states license an applicant who is a qualified physician, has no disciplinary actions, is board certified, and is practicing medicine in another state. I am firm believer that the Maryland Governor, the Health secretaries aim is to increase the number of qualified physicians and embed the growth in job creation and the economy of the state. Unfortunately, the current regulation does not echo these objectives.

    I request the Governor, and the Secretary, to amend and/or change these unnecessary regulations, hurting the Maryland’s economy. Please note that for each physician who establishes a medical practice in Maryland, it is a small business added to the Maryland businesses. This further leads to increase in job growth, since each practice will hire number of health care providers on average a nurse, physician assistant, and other staff. This creates jobs and fuels the state economy. HOWEVER, as each qualified physician is eliminated or ineligible to obtain Maryland medical license means one small business is eliminated in Maryland and therefore fewer jobs created. I do believe that we should catch all good physicians that in turn will not only boost the economy but also maximize the health of our Marylanders and save our state healthcare dollars.

    • I Agree all the way! Thank you for taking this initiative!!!

      Maryland has the strict regulation which is requiring physicians to re-take the USMLE exams (these exams are designed to test a physicians’ basic science knowledge that the applicant has just learned in Medical school and theoretical clinical sciences knowledge of a medical student once he/she has learned reading the clinical textbooks.
      However, when applying for a licensure immediately after graduating from medical school. These new physicians have less understanding of actual clinical practice which is supposed to be acquired by residency training. This is to enable them to apply what they learned in medical school. Clearly the requirement to first pass USMLE 1 and 2 exams proves that they have learned it by passing the USMLE exams step 1 and 2 before they can even apply for residency training to learn real life clinical application.
      After completion of the residency training these physicians’ either go in primary care and pass specialty board and then go in subspecialty and pass another board exam and continue practice clinical medicine in a specific area of their specialty.
      For Maryland board of physicians to ask these physicians to re-take USMLE Exam sequence again in order to get license in Maryland and ignoring the fact that the physician is already in clinical practice and licensed in another state makes no sense and is bad law. Maryland initial physician licensure regulations must change this and consider these practicing licensed physicians for licensure in Maryland on case by case bases or through a waiver process indicated in the regulations.

    • I found out about this website from my face book network and feel excited to post my unheard voice for years by Maryland board of physicians.

      I concur with pallimd and here is why:

      I practice in Florida and run an organization with 15 physician group. I was trained in the area and started to think of establishing my clinic in St. Mary County, MD. Unfortunately, I was not a local graduate however born in states and ended up having to take USMLE exams with more then 3 fails and when called the board I was told not to apply. so I decided to go to Florida. I still remember that people were rude and were not willing to give answers to the questions and kept on telling me to either send application and get denies or not apply because of the above reason. When I asked to speak with a board member to explain my problem I was told to speak with the executive staff member and he gave me the same information and did not let me speak with board members.

      To Maryland Governor, My friends and some family members have been very supportive of your policies and policy initiatives. After 7 years in practice I am still feeling unheard by Maryland board of physicians and thank you for putting this comment section to regulatory reform. In my current 15 physician group, I have 25 allied health employees and large patient base. Obviously, this has created lots of jobs and expended health care in Florida, especially primary care, and helped the state economy. But sadly Maryland has lost the revenue and jobs by turning away a good physician many years ago.

      As you can tell your state medical board and regulations need to work on this issue by being more responsive to the applicants for Maryland physician licensure and looking at it on case by case bases rather then exclude the most interested and otherwise qualified physicians.

      I thank the first author for taking time and initiative. Hope this will change and improve your state’s regulations by removing unnecessary regulations.
      Mike

    • I totally support your recommendations! Hope the Governor O’Malley will take a closer look at this regulation. Mike

  • I like milk, but jeez there have been at least 7 postings about raw milk. Unless you’re going to add more information just talking about it, PA, and how mad you are is a waste of space.

    ****

    Make it easier for young people to obtain employment so that they can gain job skills earlier and show them how the real world works. When they realize working for others sucks all kinds of ways the more ambitious ones will work on a plan to start their own businesses.

  • I cannot help but think it would serve our great state and its citizens well to do away with laws that prohibit the sale of raw milk/raw milk products. Many Marylanders currently get these products from nearby Pennsylvania.

  • The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services manual DCM 50-43 prohibits the wearing of beards with exceptions for PFB and religious reasons. The premise established by then DOC Commissioner Frank Sizer, Jr., was that a beard prohibited the proper fitting and use of a gas mask.

    However since his proclimation regulations have changed so that the only personnel that may wear a gas mask are those that have been duly fit tested. The only personnel that are fit tested are members of the TAC and SOG teams. Additionally, a goatee style of bears does not interfere with the proper fitting or use of a gas mask.

    This prohibition unnecessarily limits the number of qualified applicants to the uniformed positions within the DOC. It is a widely know truth that the DOC can use all of the qualified applicants it can garner.

    I suggest that the regulation be changed allowing beards, with reasonable length, and if a beard wearer is a member of TAC or SOG, that the stipulation be added that it must not interfere with a gas mask.

  • Dear Governor,

    I understand that you and your team are in the process of going over regulations to see what can be eliminated to help with job and economic growth. This is long overdue! The people of Maryland deserve much more proactive leadership and far fewer government burdens.

    Given that you and your team are looking to eliminate regulations to help with job and economic growth, I felt compelled to take this opportunity to chime in and let you and your team know that I (and many other Marylanders) want to support local, Maryland farms. Additionally, I (and many other Marylanders) want fewer regulations on businesses.

    Let’s start with supporting local, Maryland farms. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has horribly outdated regulations regarding raw milk intended for human consumption. These ridiculous regulations criminalize Maryland farmers for selling fresh, raw milk to their friends, neighbors and other Maryland citizens. Did you know that according to a CDC survey, about 3% of Marylanders drink raw milk? According to the federal 2010 census, Maryland has a population of 5,773,552. If you do the math, there are approximately 173,206 Marylanders who drink raw milk. Where do these Marylanders get their raw milk? Most of it comes from Pennsylvania. Let’s do some more math. If each of the 173,206 raw-milk drinking Marylanders purchases just one gallon (I know some who purchase 5 gallons per week) of raw milk each week at $6.50 per gallon (the actual price at one Pennsylvania raw milk farm) from a Pennsylvania farm, Maryland is losing $58,543,628 per year to Pennsylvania. I think that could figure, which is definitely an ultra-conservative one, could create some economic and job growth. When you further consider that Maryland consumers who go to Pennsylvania for raw milk also purchase other items (eggs, meats, etc.), the $58 million becomes just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re going to tell me that the regulations preventing the sale of raw milk is for the protection of Marylanders due to the unsafe practice of consuming raw milk, please don’t waste your breath. First, let’s consider that raw milk is an intrinsically safe food. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, you are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than from raw milk (see http://www.westonaprice.org/press/government-data-proves-raw-milk-safe). I know Marylanders who have been drinking it for years (and their young children too) without getting sick. Second, several peer reviewed European studies show that raw milk provides powerful protection against asthma and allergies. It’s quite possible that raw milk could help protect the children of Maryland against asthma and allergies. Did you know that raw milk is sold in vending machines throughout Europe? Third, it’s okay for Marylanders to purchase cigarettes (which contain known carcinogens), but not a healthy food like raw milk, right? That’s just wrong! In closing this section, I urge you to exempt direct farmer-to-consumer sales from over-burdensome regulations. I am confident that doing so would help local farmers in Maryland and help spark an economic revival of Maryland rural communities.

    Now, let’s talk about fewer regulations on businesses. As an aspiring small business owner, my dream of beginning a business is on hold due to outlandish regulations and fees. I possess the knowledge, skills, abilities and desire to start a business, but I lack the financial resources to do so because of the all “red tape” and fees. For instance, I need to have a site plan completed first. The site plan fee alone costs approximately $19K and that’s just for a surveying / engineering firm to tell me what needs to be done to the land first before any building can go up. Add to that another $2-3K in county fees and permits. I’d be more than $20K into things before any real site work is completed and the building would still not be up. Businesses, not governments, are the lifeblood of economic and job growth. Reducing business regulations would allow more entrepreneurs to start small businesses and spark existing businesses to relocate to Maryland, both of which would help Maryland create economic and job growth.

    • Thank you. We drink 4 gallons a week from a farm in PA. Pllus other food they make like fermented pickles.

  • Please review and revise legislation regulating the purchase/sale of raw milk and dairy products in the state. Because of restrictive laws in Maryland, I have to buy my raw milk and dairy products from farms in Pennsylvania. This is money going out of Maryland instead of fueling economic activity in our agriculture sector (jobs, jobs, jobs).

    • Thankk you.

  • Please review and revise legislation regulating the purchase/sale of raw milk and dairy products in the state. My reasons for supporting a change are three-fold:
    1) Concern that the laws regarding food safety and the well-being of the citizenry are becoming increasingly restrictive and overreaching. Will we soon not be able to purchase any food supplies directly from producers? Agribusiness should not be allowed to wipe out local food supply availability. I have infinitely more confidence in the safety and quality of the eggs, produce, meat and dairy products that come directly to me.
    2) I cannot tolerate pasturized milk/dairy products. Without raw milk products I must rely almostly exclusively on supplements and they are not adequate for my medical needs.
    3) This is good stuff and delicious in a way that processed and packaged food stuffs cannot every hope to be.

    • Thank you.

  • I am not entirely sure why the Governor and 60 of his very closest advisors needed to go half way around the world to stimulate the Maryland economy when we could put ourselves back to work with simplification of MD food laws.

    If an item is covered by USDA. Let it be covered by USDA. We don’t need stricter state laws than USDA has in place. Our counties do not need to add another layer of law, nor do the incorporated cities and towns. While Maryland may border and contain metropolitan areas. Laws need to support small scale food production so that those who want to feed others can afford to do so. A safe food supply should come from those who feel a calling to feed others. Instead, with the infrstructure of laws and insurances that this state promulgates, the only ones that can produce food are those who are concentrating on P&Ls, looking for corners to cut, rather than doing what is right.

    This can be seen clearly across the board with food production. Why must dairies ship (unnecessary fuel expense and consumption) raw milk to PA to be made into cheese in PA and then shipped back to Maryland (unnecessary fuel expense and consumption, not once, twice). Is it more safe to culture raw milk into cheese in PA than in MD? Of course not. PA is more of a powerhouse in food production than MD. In Maryland we lost the skills of providing for ourselves, possibly due to development of metropolitan areas with higher income being able to pay others (PA), and politicians bought in to larger companies being able to produce safer foods.

    The legislation as it stands right now does not protect consumer safety. It protects big businesses from small family business trying to sustain its own community. Pennsylvania and Delaware both have less strict food laws. They must love being located next to Maryland.

  • The MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has horribly outdated regulations regarding raw milk intended for human consumption. Currently, Maryland farmers are criminalized for selling fresh, raw milk to their friends, neighbors and other Maryland citizens. Instead of supporting Maryland farms, Maryland citizens in pursuit of fresh milk and other local farm foods, are forced to purchase directly from farmers in other states taking millions of food dollars away from Maryland farmers. I literally watch millions of dollars a month go to PA because of our prohibition on raw milk sales and cow shares. By exempting direct farmer-to-consumer sales from overburdensome regulations, farming in MD would thrive and we would see an economic revival of Maryland rural communities. I would like to see a review of 10.15.06.02 that defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk. This alteration of the definition of cow share further criminalizes farmers and consumer who wish to engage in private contractual arrangements. These regulation must be reviewed and removed for MD farmers to have the choice to earn income through direct sales and private contracts in regards to their milking animals. You can also review review COMAR 10.15.06.12 and exempt direct farmer-to-consumer transactions from the regulations intended for raw milk for pastuerization. Thank you for review these regulation that drastically interfere with agricultural economic growth and the revitalization of our rural communities.

  • Dear Governor,

    While I support regulations for big farms in order to ensure safe processing, a minimum standard of food quality and, for example, run-off into the Chesapeake Bay, I think that those regulations place a very heavy burden on small farms. Many regulations are not necessary for small farms, as customers can have direct relationships with the farms, which makes trade based on trust and a common commitment to the local land possible. It is very difficult for local small farms to gain the USDA Organic stamp. What’s worse, sale of raw milk is illegal, driving many customers across the state borders. Being from Germany, I grew up with safe sources for raw milk, and am perplexed to find coming by it here so difficult. I am also used to a stronger culture of local farmers markets. They strengthen the community, bring the neighborhood together, and give a sense of where food comes from. Anything that can be done to strengthen small farms, to encourage them to stay open instead of selling out, and to help them sell their food locally is a win on so many levels!

    Thank you for opening this forum and for taking the time to read these comments.

    Sincerely,

    Ole Hass

  • [...] “The governor and DBED are actually looking at what they can fix,” Snyder said. Comments and suggestions can be made on the Maryland Made Easy website. [...]

  • Anything you can do to make it easier for small businesses and farmers would be beneficial to Marylanders. I am one who purchases as much of my food as possible from within 25 miles of my MD home – which limits me to Maryland farms. I purchase all of my meat, fruit, and vegetables that can be grown sustainably in our climate from MD farms. I can not legally purchase raw milk, cheese, ice cream, or yogurt from a MD farm which takes my food dollars out of state. I wish the laws to change so that I can legally support a Maryland dairy farmer. I have not found any sustainably grown grains from Maryland; perhaps financial or other encouragement could be given to organic and sustainable grain farmers. One of the biggest hindrances to purchasing meat from local farms, is a lack of USDA certified meat processors. The transportation costs for a small farmer to drive to a certified processor are huge because they can only transport a few animals at a time. Access to a mobile meat processing unit would make the slaughter/butcher process accessible both physically and financially to small sustainable meat farmers. Sometimes too much regulation stifles business opportunities and creativity. Let’s make it easier for Maryland citizens to meet their needs locally!

  • The State needs to focus on technology. CIO’s should be engaging with executives on the use of an Enterprise Architecture (EA) for the state. EA would optimize the inderdependencies and interrelationships among an agency’s business operations and the underlying IT that support operations. EA would be used as a roadmap in describing how agencies are going to achieve their mission and how it plans to do so in the future and what role IT can play.This is already required at the federal level as a result of the Clinger Cohen Act.

  • Our family eats mostly local organic (when possible) foods, including organic pastured meats, poultry and dairy products. In the case of dairy products, I have to travel to PA to secure organic raw milk for my family. We shop mostly at farmer’s markets and rely on nutrient dense foods, which is especially important for my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter.

    Reducing restrictions and improving support for local farmers who are producing this wonderfully nutricious and delicious food should be a priority. Direct farm to consumer sales provides for a significant portion of the local small farmer economics.

    There are now more than 7,000 famer’s markets across the country, a 150% increase since 2000. More and more people are looking for direct access to high quality locally produced food. All of these changes represent significant job growth in the local economy and programs that support sustainable agriculture should be implemented.

    It goes without saying that being able to produce and purchase such products locally, rather than having to travel to PA, reduces costs, carbon footprint, infrastructure impact, while building our local economy.

    Please consider implementing legislation similar to the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act that have been introduced in Congress.

    • Please do not give raw milk to your granddaughter. Drink it yourself if you must but you do not have the right to endanger her health and life, however small you think that risk might be. Scientists at both the CDC and the FDA warn against the dangers of raw milk, particularly for children. Their warnings are based on scientific research – what incentive would they have to issue baseless warnings? And their warnings are borne out by recent events in California where right now there are three children in kidney failure (two more got sick but are ok) as a consequence of drinking raw milk from the largest raw milk retailer in the United States. The same dairy was implicated in a 2006 e coli outbreak and three children (2 more got sick) were hospitalized then as well. In both outbreaks the only common food connection was that all ten children drank raw milk from this particular dairy in the two weeks before getting sick. It could be a horrible coincidence but what are the chances, given that it is a well known scientific fact that e coli can survive in raw milk? Remember also that most cases of food related illnesses go unreported because the illness is attributed to something else such as stomach flu. So a lot more people probably got sick in both of these cases but maybe they didn’t get as much e coli or they had better immune systems – or both. Maybe you have even gotten sick from raw milk and just don’t know it because you got better. Why take the risk when the health benefits of raw milk cannot be confirmed by scientists?

  • There used to be over 1 million farms in America. That number has profoundly deteriorated because of bad food policy. If you want to create jobs, real farming (not industrial factory farms) can make a tremendous impact. Farmers provide resources we need every single day. Real farming is good for the environment. Maryland getting back to farming can create real jobs. So many Maryland citizens want to support local, organic, raw food farmers. We all go to Pennsylvania. Consider the real facts about raw milk and the policy about the sale of raw milk must change. I have drank it my whole life and it is perfectly safe…safer than cantaloupe! Allow citizens to act like the grown ups we are, to make our own food choices, and you will absolutely impact jobs in a meaningful way.

  • I current spend a good portion of my food money in Pennsylvania. I go to a farm there because I can get raw milk. In addition, while there I get meat, eggs, and vegetables and cheese. All of this would be spent in Maryland from local farms if I could get raw milk. –According to a CDC survey, about 3 percent of Marylanders drink raw milk. The vast majority of this milk comes from Pennsylvania. Those purchasing raw milk in Pennsylvania also purchase meat, eggs and other products from the same farmer who supplies them with raw milk. This represents hundreds of thousands of dollars leaving the state of Maryland each year and a severe prejudice against Maryland farmers.
    –Raw milk is an intrinsically safe food. You are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than from raw milk. See http://www.westonaprice.org/press/government-data-proves-raw-milk-safe
    –Several peer reviewed European studies show that raw milk provides powerful protection against asthma and allergies. The children of Maryland need raw milk!
    –Raw milk is sold through vending machines throughout Europe
    Please change the raw milk laws so I don’t have to spend my money in PA thanks

  • On Oct. 29 I closed my business of four years. It was located in the heart of Downtown Cumberland, Md. This is a town that has suffered because they have no longer have any major industry.
    The reasons are many but most can be blamed on the city & county. However it doesn’t help when you turn on your computer & discover you are #5 as the most taxed state in the country! The state needs to streamline their departments, change the way they do things, look at other states successes and mimic them.
    Here’s an example-in New Hampshire there is only one type of liquor license for a bar-how many do we have in Maryland? Beer & Wine license, Cinderella license, 2 o’clock license-simplify, simplify!
    I’ve examined the reasons my store closed & will expound on them although like I said, most were not due to the state.
    When I first opened minimum wage was much less-I think it was $5.60-now its $7.25. This means I paid a lot more in taxes, both Federal & State. My unemployment taxes more than tripled, although the rate stayed the same. This has all occurred in the last 4 years. Because of this and the price of gas my cost of foods to stock my store went way up. I started out with three employees on a daily basis. I closed with one employee on a daily basis. Because of this I had to work more on the day to day of the store instead of trying to promote, watch my costs of product and theft going on in the store. I find it ironic that the Economic Development Department for the City contributed to my demise.
    My store was located directly across from the Senior Citizen Center & the old HRDC building. The powers to be made the decision to improve Virginia Ave-there were funds available. They should have looked at the few jobs we have in the area (especially downtown) and see if this town can support two commerce areas. Which it can’t! So they moved the HRDC out of the downtown area. The following year they moved Social Security out of the downtown area.
    Which brings me to another source of contention. I was told by someone who works for Social Security it was like getting a $90 a month raise when they moved, because they no longer had to pay for parking. When I brought this up with economic development, their reaction was gee, it’s only $90-in this town $90 is a lot and of course the source of this reaction herself did not have to pay for parking! City employees had it in their contract that they didn’t have to pay.
    If you wander in our downtown now there are at least 20 empty storefronts, there is no longer anything for the tourists who frequent Cumberland (steam train, trail) to see. Cumberland itself is not Business Friendly! There needs to be training in the small towns on how to attract business. They need to understand a “store” is not business as there is nothing to support the “store.” We are desperate here-and the Economic Development Department does NOT need to go away for a workshop! Have the trainers come here and actually “train” not party down the Ocean or in Baltimore or in Annapolis!
    Hire someone that can go to an area that’s hurting and put together a proposal based on the area that expounds the virtues of the area. This has never been done here to my knowledge and would go a long way to promote Cumberland-Maryland in general.
    The young people here would love to be able to stay here instead of leaving for a job paying more than minimum wage! Gambling & Prisons are not the answer! We need real jobs! High Speed Internet would be a great start-maybe tech jobs would follow!

  • I’m a Montgomery County resident and I’m very concerned with food policy in this state. First of all, where is our Food Policy Council? We need to protect and preserve our resources in Maryland and be prepared to provide more local foods to our residents and schools. We have lost so much farm land to development and we are not putting enough policies in place to deter industrial agriculture that creates dangerous runoff into our precious Chesapeake Watershed. We need to preserve this national treasure while at the same time promote sustainable farming and programs to get more young farmers on our soil. We desperately need to turn the tide in Maryland, we do not have enough farmers to meet the consumer demands for local, sustainable and humanly raised food.

    A few policy suggestions:

    Legalize raw milk, this will be a boon for the economy. Adopt safety regulations from one of the 39 states that have been successfully producing safe milk for centuries. The cow is at the center of fertility on a farm, being able to sell raw milk and products and also vegetables from the fertile soil will be good for the health of our citizens and pay our farmers a living wage which will enable them to pay farm help a living wage which will put money into the local town economy where the farm and workers reside. It’s a win win. Industrialized agriculture and dependence on processors takes money away from the people producing the food and concentrates the majority of the profit to share holders and executives.

    We need to support the Maryland poultry industry (farmers) in ways that will enable them to move their focus from industrial food production to local, sustainable production that benefits the Bay. This matter is urgent, I’m sure you are aware of all the research proving the impact of the industrial poultry industry in Maryland on the Bay.reducing the chicken manure will make a large impact on the revival of the blue crab economy (a secondary economic benefit) the first economic benefit will be to those industrial chicken farmers once they realize they can make more money selling local, sustainable and humanely raised animal products to Maryland residents.

    Create a farm revival program that helps attract young farmers to Maryland, it’s important that these programs offer means for the farmers to purchase the land they are cultivating. Farm land needs to be preserved long term, this is essential to the food security of Maryland residents and our long term health outlook.

  • Maryland has an ARSENIC problem.

    Chickens in Maryland – around the Eastern Shore, in particular, are eating food with arsenic in it. Why feed manufacturers are doing this is beyond me, but more importantly, it puts our health and the environment at risk from exposure to this poison.

    How? They use the chicken waste as crop fertilizer and the arsenic – perhaps other toxic heavy metals, as well – ends up in the groundwater; in our reservoirs, our wells, and yes – even in our crops.

    Please – this serious health issue affects everyone. Do you eat non-organic chicken? Produce from the Eastern Shore?

    Isn’t it time we put an end to these toxic practices?

    Humbly,

    James H

  • Please allow locally produced foods, such as raw milk, to be sold directly from the farmer to the consumer. Direct sale would ensure accountability of the strictest kind, and allowing the sale of raw milk would allow people who currently buy from PA to spend their dollars here in MD.

  • The MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has horribly outdated
    > regulations regarding raw milk intended for human consumption.
    > Currently, Maryland farmers are criminalized for selling fresh, raw milk
    > to their friends, neighbors and other Maryland citizens. Instead,
    > Maryland citizens in pursuit of fresh milk and other local farm foods,
    > are forced to purchase directly from farmers in other states taking
    > millions of food dollars away from Maryland farmers. By exempting
    > direct farmer-to-consumer sales from overburdensome regulations, farming
    > in MD would thrive and we would see an economic revival of Maryland
    > rural communities. I would like to see a review of 10.15.06.02 that
    > defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk. This alteration of the
    > definition of cow share further criminalizes farmers and consumer who
    > wish to engage in private contractual arrangements. These regulation
    > must be reviewed and removed for MD farmers to have the choice to earn
    > income through direct sales and private contracts in regard to their
    > milking animals. You can also review review COMAR 10.15.06.12 and
    > exempt direct farmer-to-consumer transaction from the regulations
    > concerning raw milk intended for pastuerization. Thank you for review
    > these regulation that drastically interfere with agricultural economic
    > growth and the revitalization of our rural communities.

  • Please legalize the sale of raw milk in MD. Thank you

  • Eliminate regulations that prohibit the sale of raw milk via cow-shares or direct-farmer-to-consumer purchases. This will put millions of dollars into the hands of Maryland farmers, who will then put it back into the Maryland economy. It will also create jobs as farmers will need to hire new employees to meet demand. There is a huge market for raw milk in Maryland. You don’t need to make raw milk a grocery store product – all you need to do is loosen the law just enough so that informed consumers can legally purchase it from Maryland farmers if they desire.

    Thank you for considering suggestions.

  • Making the sale of raw milk legal – as it is in Pennsylvania and Maine, among other states, will go a long way to supporting small farms and farmers.

    Please please please remove 10.15.06.02 that forbids MD farmers to enter into a private contract with a MD citizen to maintain and milk their cows for them. And please review COMAR 10.15.06.12 and make raw milk sales legal in direct-to-consumer.
    thanks.

  • I would like to see fewer regulations and restrictions on our farmers. Allow on farm sales of all farm products. Let the farmers process their foods for sale (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, meats,etc). “Let the buyer beware”. I think most people who take the time to find and travel to a farm are aware of how the food is produced. This is not the same situation as buying from a grocery store and getting food that was mass produced in huge factory like farms. We are willing to accept some of the risk ourselves.
    Our farms are closing down, our land is all being built up into houses and shopping centers. We need more farms and our farmers need the freedom to sell what they produce.

    • Review all COMAR regulations and take out the ones that no longer make sense. Why do those farmers selling FROZEN meat at a farmer’s market need to purchase expensive dataloggers for the coolers? Frozen solid isn’t good enough? What are you taking the temperature of – how many times it is opened? Start using some GOOD OLD FASHIONED COMMON SENSE in Maryland!

  • Please review regulations 10.15.06.02 and COMAR 10.15.06.12, regarding the sale of raw milk and the definition of a cow share as a sale of raw milk. (If the state truly thinks it is a health problem, please check the number of illnesses caused in Pennsylvania by raw milk, where it is legal, heavily regulated, and cows are frequently tested–I don’t think you’ll find actual evidence of undue health risk).

    Currently, many consumers prefer to purchase food from trusted local sources. Direct farm-to-consumer sales permit consumers to verify for themselves the quality of the product and the treatment of the animals. Because of Maryland’s anti-raw milk regulations, many consumers buy these products in Pennsylvania–along with other agricultural products. Support our farmers! Doing so will generate more local jobs and support our rural communities.

  • Thanks for your consideration, as a stay at home mom with a self employed husband, I too am concerned about our local economy and jobs in Maryland. I would love to spend more of my money closer to home, I am passionate about feeding my family food that is free of toxins and allergens, so most of my money goes to small farmers in Pennsylvania to purchase fresh milk, grass fed beef and pastured eggs. I would LOVE to spend less money on gas and more money in my own neighborhood and I work hard at empowering my neighbors and friends to keep their money as local as possible. I hope the state will work at doing the same thing! I think the more we can do to make it easier for small businesses and small family farms the better for our local economies and jobs. Local food is the way our country is going and needs to go. Maryland can be at the forefront of this new mentality by making it easier for small farms to produce what is in demand. Governor O’Malley, I highly encourage you to read the book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin. He truly gets it when it comes to being a locavore and keeping money in your own locality. Its one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I consider myself very well read. Thanks for your time.

    • Thank you for your support of Maryland farmers!

      • It would be great to see the MDA continue to support the LOCAL communities and farmers by continuing to take away food safety responsibility from overzealous county Health Department officials who do not know the MDA guidelines themselves.

  • You can create many jobs and keep money in Maryland if you let the small farmers sell their milk to friends and neighbors and end the regulations and restrictions that keep small farmers from freely selling their products to customers who are knowledgeable about how the food they grow is superior and nutritious.

  • I would love to see more support for local, organic farms and farmer’s markets. Also, we spend a good bit of money buying raw (healthier) milk from Pennsylvania. Would be better to keep the money in state and support our local economy (and tax base). Thanks.

  • I second the comments above about the economic benefits possible from changing heavy regulations on direct farm marketing.
    “The MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has horribly outdated regulations regarding raw milk intended for human consumption. Currently, Maryland farmers are criminalized for selling fresh, raw milk to their friends, neighbors and other Maryland citizens. Instead of supporting Maryland farms, Maryland citizens in pursuit of fresh milk and other local farm foods, are forced to purchase directly from farmers in other states taking millions of food dollars away from Maryland farmers. I literally watch millions of dollars a month go to PA because of our prohibition on raw milk sales and cow shares. By exempting direct farmer-to-consumer sales from overburdensome regulations, farming in MD would thrive and we would see an economic revival of Maryland rural communities. I would like to see a review of 10.15.06.02 that defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk. This alteration of the definition of cow share further criminalizes farmers and consumer who wish to engage in private contractual arrangements. These regulation must be reviewed and removed for MD farmers to have the choice to earn income through direct sales and private contracts in regards to their milking animals. You can also review review COMAR 10.15.06.12 and exempt direct farmer-to-consumer transactions from the regulations intended for raw milk for pastuerization. Thank you for review these regulation that drastically interfere with agricultural economic growth and the revitalization of our rural communities.”

    Please consider revising these outdated regulations.

  • I would like to be able to purchase raw milk in the state of MD. I currently spend about $400/month to get raw milk from farmers in PA (we are only a family of 3!). I choose them because I can get the raw milk, and then in addition, I purchase eggs, cheese, beef, chicken, pork, yogurt, ice cream, fruits and vegetables- only because I’m already getting the milk from them. I would love to be able to purchase all of this from a local MD farmer and keep my money in the local MD economy. But if I can’t get it all in one place, then it doesn’t make sense for me. I work full-time and can’t drive around to different farms or farmer’s markets I order to get get different products/produce. in speaking with different MD farmers, many of them have told me they would love to be able to sell raw milk products, because they see a great demand, but they are not allowed to due to state regulations. Thanks for your consideration.

    • As a RN you would know what hemolytic uremic syndrome is and that it can lead to kidney failure. So why would you put yourself and your family at risk by drinking raw milk? Between the incident in 2006 and the recent incident 6 children have been hospitalized in California with hemolytic uremic syndrome within 2 weeks after drinking raw milk from the same dairy – the largest raw milk retail dairy in the United States. Do you really want to take the risk that it was all a horrible coincidence when both CDC and the FDA scientists warn against raw milk because of the danger of hemolytic uremic syndrome as a consequence of e coli infection?

  • There needs to be more communication with local government concerning State regulations. Local governments give out Demo permits and the citizens think they are in the clear only for them to find out after a building has been knocked down that they didn’t do the required 10 day notification to the state or look inside to see if there were materials that should’ve been taken out or off that weren’t. Then the citizens end up having to pay fines for these violations.

  • Prince George county needs Sunday Liquor sales. Stores need to be open for business this is a very old law. Please remove it so people can work and earn money. We need Sunday Liquor sales like AA county and Montgomery.

    • More revenue for state and more employment.

      • This law should have changed with the outlining counties.

        • Why is PG the last to go 7 day Liquor sale Govenor O’Malley?

    • How old is the law that keeps stores from opening on Sunday?

  • Prince George county needs Sunday Liquor sales. Stores need to be open.for business this is a very old law. Please remove it so people can work and earn money. We need Sunday Liquor sales like AA county and Montgomery.

    • Long over due please open on Sunday’s

      • We want the revenue in Prince George not AA and Montgomery and DC.
        Who is the road block on this law? Liquor stores should all have the same days of business operations.

  • I’d love to see increased focus on local farms and farming! What a great way to promote job growth in our state, and food dollars spent in our state. I also think Marylanders should be able to buy local raw milk legally! Support our farmland and our farmers!!

  • I’d like to see COMAR 10.15.06.02 and 10.15.06.12 reviewed. The MD Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene needs to recognize that raw milk from healthy grass fed cows is NOT a danger to the public health and should be a legal option for MD consumers. I would LOVE to support a local MD farm rather than an out-of-state farm. With the increasing interest in the health benefits of raw milk and raw milk products, Maryland’s economy would get a little boost from the ability of small farms to sell fresh milk to their neighbors who want it. Wouldn’t it be nice to increase the tax base and keep all that money in MD?

  • Allow consumers to purchase raw milk directly from farmers in Maryland rather than spending millions on milk from other states. I would like to see a review of 10.15.06.02 that defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk. This alteration of the definition of cow share further criminalizes farmers and consumer who wish to engage in private contractual arrangements.

    Reconsider COMAR 10.15.06.12 and exempt direct farmer-to-consumer transaction from the regulations concerning raw milk intended for pastuerization.

    These regulation must be reviewed and removed for MD farmers to have the choice to earn income through direct sales and private contracts in regard to their milking animals.

  • There is a huge demand for locally produced food, and yet farmers in Maryland find it difficult to meet that demand based on the number of regulations they are faced with. Many are driven away from producing for local consumption due to the number of regulations, and often local sales are outright banned by regulation. For example, under Maryland regulation all sales of unpasteurized milk are banned, yet thousands of Maryland families still choose to drink fresh milk straight from farmers they know and trust- in Pennsylvania. We would prefer to spend our money in Maryland, but are unable to do so because of the current regulation.

    In addition, a reduction in regulations for all producers who sell direct farm-to-consumer would make it easier for farmers to make more profit and therefore create more jobs, as producing for direct sales is often far more labor intensive than producing many commodity crops. There are also opportunities for job creation in the areas of food hubs (distribution of locally produced farms), value added processing (canneries, freezing facilities), and retail- if only there is more economic incentive for farmers to produce for local consumption, which regulations often make cost prohibitive. There should be two or more sets of regulations- one for large scale farmers selling for processing and one (or none) for those selling direct.

    • Thank you Tara!

  • I spend $400/month with Pennsylvania farmers for my dairy, and I’m not the only one. I would be much happier to spend that money closer to home and support an economic revival in MD farming. As a farmers’ market manager, dairy is one of the hardest items to find, but has the highest demand. But MD farmers are reluctant to invest in dairying operations when the regulations are so burdensome, and small-farm-unfriendly. Remove 10.15.06.02 that forbids MD farmers to enter into a private contract with a MD citizen to maintain and milk their cows for them. Review COMAR 10.15.06.12 and make raw milk sales legal in direct-to-consumer. Consider legalizing raw milk altogether as many states have successfully done, with no adverse effects to public health.

  • There is a fairly sizeable demand for fresh raw milk in Maryland. There are currently thousands of Marylanders who pay $6 or more per gallon to buy raw milk from farmers other states – mostly Pennsylvania. If it were legal to buy raw milk from Maryland farmers, those Marylanders could support local Maryland farmers instead, making farming in Maryland more economically viable for those farms that are able to produce grassfed raw milk. It would also make it more economically viable to keep some of our beautiful farmland. Some families buy as many as 5 gallons per week. Direct farm to consumer raw milk sales in Maryland would not cost the government anything, and would help support Maryland farmers that use ecologically sound methods to produce high quality fresh grassfed milk from healthy cows. Organizations are in place to help farmers and consumers monitor and ensure the safety of the milk; government oversight and intervention is not necessary.

  • I would like to support local farmers in Maryland by being able to purchase raw cheese and raw milk. I get my raw cheese and raw milk from Pennsylvania since it is illegal in Maryland. Please help support local farmers by allowing people to purchase raw milk and raw milk products in Maryland.

  • I would like to see reform to regulations that 1) infringe on my rights to buy raw milk responsibly (from healthy cows); and 2) criminalize small farmers for selling me the milk. Specifically 10.15.06.02 that defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk and COMAR 10.15.06.12 which should be amended to exempt direct farmer-to-consumer transactions from the regulations concerning raw milk intended for pasteurization. These regulations are archaic and force consumers to buy out-of-state, costing Maryland farmers millions of food dollars. Empower Maryland small farmers and keep these dollars in the state.

  • In order to create jobs that are long-term, healthy, and contribute to the growth of our communities, we should encourage the business of small farmers across the state. Building our local food system is a viable way to secure our regional economy against the whims of Wall St and the federal government, while creating worthwhile job for thousands of families.

    There are many policies that could be adopted to encourage more young people to take on farming as a career, but there are also laws that can be modified to help active farmers today. In particular, a review of 10.15.06.02 that defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk discourages cow shares. Also in regards to COMAR 10.15.06.12, direct farmer-to-consumer transactions should be exempted from the regulations concerning raw milk intended for pasteurization. People should be trusted to purchase farmed goods from their own neighbors.

  • The salary pay scale needs re-done; there is no reason why a subordinate should make more than a higher grade employee, I don’t care how long they’ve worked for the state. You gave these BIG raises starting out because( thanks to Balt. and Jessup regions) to get “qualified” individuals to apply. Who hires these people? they need re-training as I have seen more than my share of a qualified persons being turned away from a state job but yet some 60 year old grandmother hired for a state facility??? reduce the starting pay and give it to the employees who have dedicated many years to state service and not some 18 yr old out of high school.

    This Audit crap has and is being blown WAY out of proportion! I remember once a year an informal audit to ensure protocal and once very three a major state audit….it now seems like every month someone is running an audit for something. This is completed by state employees whom have volunteered(and completed training) to “audit” another facility. this means that they are now away from their “real job” and usually overtime manpower must be found to compensate for their absence.

  • Winston Churchhill said the only way America could survive is by nuturing free enterprise, yet we have Planning and Zoning Commisions that say you can not start a business in you own home. Sure takes away our freedoms and will to excel at something. Socialism has never worked in any Country and is the step between Capitalism and comunisum.

  • I want some jobs to grow more than others. For instance, if we made it easier (meaning not criminal) for Maryland farmers to sell directly to consumers who want to buy from them we could have more Maryland farm jobs. Talk to farmers about what they need. Especially dairy farmers. I know a lot of people from Maryland who go to Pennsylvania to get their milk, because they want to buy directly from the farmer. They willingly pay more than store retail prices- in Pennsylvania! Take jobs away from Pennsylvania! Encourage Maryland farmers (also, the Maryland consumers would not have to drive as far, thus saving fuel, air pollution, road wear and tear, road congestion).

    I want to encourage farmers more than I want to encourage more accounting jobs. Those of you asking for simplified permit regulations- you gotta realize that the accountants depend on those arcane and complicated forms for their livelihood.

    There is a comment above about some particular legislation that deals with allowing farmers to farm and sell their products (Liz Reitzig), and I am sure that farmers could tell you more about what they want.

    If someone does not try to buy directly from a farmer they have no idea how hard it is. Nobody I talk to can believe that some people from Maryland have to go to Pennsylvania for their milk because it is ILLEGAL for Maryland dairy to sell directly to the consumers who want their milk and are even willing to pay more for it. Talk about ironic. You are asking here about jobs in Maryland- well, stop outlawing useful and healthy work.

    • Oops, the way they have set this up the comment I referred to is below, not above, mine. Still Liz Reitzig.

  • Why did the govener sign a new law stating that if you owe md. taxes you can not renew your tags or renew your lincense. How are you suppose to get to work to pay your back taxes. I have more stress on me now. I only had a few months to try and get a large amount of money to put down before i can get things taken care of and i can’t do it now because i have to pay morg. ect. If they didn’t require you to come up with a large down payment it wouldn’t be as bad. I am 63 yrs old and am very unhappy. I need to work without worry. Why did you sign a bill without concidering the poor?

    • In addition to what Sandra Smiith said, the interest and penalties (really usury) make it very difficult, if not impossible, for people with limited income to pay off their Maryland debts (unemployment overpayments, Maryland taxes, etc.) because most of the money goes to the interest and penalties.

    • An acquaintance of mine has experienced a similar situation. While they are willing to pay back the taxes owed to the state and are doing so, the amount of money they are required to pay is causing them to be on the brink of financial catastrophe. And their registration has been restricted as well. I can see the action is required if a person will not pay their back taxes but If a person has gone through the whole process to arrange for pay back and they have agreed to and are making consistent repayments why not lift that restriction? If a person cannot drive their vehicle to work to make the money needed to pay back the state then how can they pay back what they owe? Isn’t it likely to force people to do something illegal just to survive? In these extremely tough economic times I think the State needs to revise the formula in order to lower the monthly payment amount and after a period of time, perhaps 3-6 months of consistent payments, the State should lift the registration restriction. Why not reward the people who are trying to do the right thing.

  • One thing I have come to appreciate about Maryland having moved here this year from Indiana, is the ability to have my life experience and continuing education appropriately weighed against people with a college degree. In Indiana I often couldn’t even get an interview for jobs which I was well qualified to do, because of laws or regulations requiring a college degree. As an individual with multiple disabilities, who also works to advocate for those folks with disabilities to find work in the community, I think it is imperative that employers have the option to consider hiring someone whose alternative education (hands on experience, comparable experience, continuing education, etc.) may be the equivilent or exceed the actual work skills brought to a workplace by someone holding a college degree. Don’t get me wrong, I think higher education and more importantly, life-long continuing education is vital for this country’s progress. But it is also important to understand that there are many ways of learning, and some very smart and extremely creative and productive people (Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Albert Eistein, Thomas Edison for example) would not be qualified for a job interview for many companies on today’s terms. Companies who are willing to consider and able to use the apprentice model to help people with disabilities find work, will probably discover that they have found diligent, dependible, and productive workers.

  • 1. BUSINESS FEES: My son could not continue his small home business because he could not afford the annual fee to continue having a business name. If this fee was eliminated small fledgling businesses could flourish.

    2. POKER: In Australia I used to play poker tournaments at local clubs and pubs. It brought them business. Most of us in the card-playing clubs would also eat a meal and have a drink. We were a mixed group from elderly to young adults, men and women. Why do we have to go to Charles Town, WV and pay ridiculously high sums for a simple game of poker which could be easily played in local venues in Maryland for a small $5 or $10 entry fee and an enjoyable night out with friends.

  • The MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has horribly outdated regulations regarding raw milk intended for human consumption. Currently, Maryland farmers are criminalized for selling fresh, raw milk to their friends, neighbors and other Maryland citizens. Instead of supporting Maryland farms, Maryland citizens in pursuit of fresh milk and other local farm foods, are forced to purchase directly from farmers in other states taking millions of food dollars away from Maryland farmers. I literally watch millions of dollars a month go to PA because of our prohibition on raw milk sales and cow shares. By exempting direct farmer-to-consumer sales from overburdensome regulations, farming in MD would thrive and we would see an economic revival of Maryland rural communities. I would like to see a review of 10.15.06.02 that defines a “cow share” as a “sale” of raw milk. This alteration of the definition of cow share further criminalizes farmers and consumer who wish to engage in private contractual arrangements. These regulation must be reviewed and removed for MD farmers to have the choice to earn income through direct sales and private contracts in regards to their milking animals. You can also review review COMAR 10.15.06.12 and exempt direct farmer-to-consumer transactions from the regulations intended for raw milk for pastuerization. Thank you for review these regulation that drastically interfere with agricultural economic growth and the revitalization of our rural communities.

    • I completely agree with Liz. Let’s REALLY support farms and farm to table practices here in MD. Let’s show the country some leadership!

      Anna

    • I am a new Maryland farmer. I have my own land and am trying to make my business successful. The one thing I most want to produce is fabulous grass-fed raw milk. Every one of my friends buys it, and they all get it from PA. All those millions of dollars going to a neighboring state when our state needs this money so badly makes me sick.

      Dairy farms are going out of business by the dozens in Maryland. It is a tragic loss of open space, rural jobs, and local food. Industrial scale milk may not be economically valid any more, but small scale, pasture based dairies would thrive here, with our large, educated, progressive markets if only the regulations that handcuff us could be removed.

      Hundreds of Marylanders would rather support my farm and the Maryland economy, but I am not able to legally sell the product I want to produce and they want to buy. I’ve testified in Annapolis several times to try to change the milk regulations and while many representatives were convinced by our testimonies, the leadership had their heads in the sand.

      The health department insists the risks are too high, but most states have raw milk one way or another and we don’t see any more illness there than here, or from raw milk more than any other food. The fact is, those of us who want it are going to drink it anyway, and we might as well support our own state, our own economy, our own farmers.

      Also, I’d love to live in a state known for respecting the fundamental rights of citizens to choose our own foods instead of a state known for patronizing citizens by believing we should only eat foods approved by bureaucrats.

      • I am one Marylander that spends over $400 a month on dairy out of state and would love to support a local farmer as Leah Mack! Maryland is kicking itself with out dated regs on local farmers. I want to buy local, but can’t…that is over $4,000 a year from just one family!

    • I’m 100% in favor of what Liz Reitzig and other consumers of raw milk who also love supporting local farmers are saying. I spend lots of money each month in Pennsylvania in order to get raw dairy products as well as grassfed meats and 80% of my other groceries. I would much rather spend my money in MD, but since I can’t buy my raw milk along with my other farm products in one order – It’s just easier to get in PA. Abolish the ban of raw milk sales, and I will gladly spend all my food money in MD!

    • I echo Liz Reitzig, 100%.

    • I don’t like to rain on the parade and I am as interested in farm profitability as anyone else. But making it easy to market raw milk is not the way to do it. It is not true that people are not being harmed by raw milk – there was an outbreak of e coli within the past couple of weeks attributed to raw milk from the country’s largest retailer of raw milk. Three children are seriously ill with a disease whick leads to kidney failure. Yes there have been other outbreaks of ecoli and we can’t eliminate all risks from food. But it is folly to ignore a risk which is so easily removed simply by not drinking raw milk. The risks of raw milk are well documented and have been for years. It is not just ecoli. It is listeria and salmonella as well, among others. The benefits of raw milk, on the other hand, have not been scientifically documented. Taste is what is cited the most. Well some people like the taste of raw hamburger. Some people probably think it even has health benefits. But that is not a good reason for the government to permit the sale of incompletely cooked hamburgers to fast food restaurant customers, even if they are using hamburger which has been produced and handled using best management practices. And raw milk is even worse than this example, because not all raw milk customers are able to transport and store raw milk as safely as McDonalds can transport and store hamburger and incomplete cooking is still better than no cooking when it comes to bacteria.

  • [...] “The governor and DBED are actually looking at what they can fix,” Snyder said. Comments and suggestions can be made on the Maryland Made Easy website. [...]

  • The Montgomery County and the State regulations regarding building are way too restrictive, and continue to get more so, to the point where contractors can no longer ask a reasonable price for even simple jobs.

    Why did I have to fill out a form saying – No roadside trees would be destroyed – for a job that took place more than a hundred feet from any road. The contractor was refused the permit until he had brought the form to me to sign, and then he had to go back to get the permit – ridiculous.

    But the lead paint restrictions are even worse – laying down plastic sheet over grassy areas will kill my grass. Working in a totally enclosed bathroom – forget it.

    TOO MANY OFTEN PETTY, but certainly badly thought out, RESTRICTIONS are killing the home renovation side of the construction industry.

  • eliminate state cars. the “owners” abuse the privledge, taking them home when they shouldn’t, going shopping, docotor’s appointments, going to lunch, running erronds on days off, etc., why cause they can and do and how so long and the feel they have right. how much money do you think this would save? i bet a lot.

  • I came from Johns Hopkins where we did our timehseets online. This saves a lot of time & paper. The employee filled out their timesheet online. It was sent to their supervisor, who electronically signed it. Then it was sent to the timekeeper & HR for recording electronically. Having to print it out, sign it then have your supervisor sign it, then fax it to accounting & mail the original to HR, while making a copy for yourself wastes a lots of paper. And not to mention, kills a lot of trees. Not very environmentally friendly!

    • Some agencies already submit e-timesheets. To me, they are a bit more time-intensive (a bit more confusing) than the paper submittals, unless you have only one time code and don’t take any kind of leave. And although a plethora of trees are definitely saved, just as with paper timesheets, we still have to submit early in weeks with a holiday. Kinda curious.

  • The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) program has several antiquated laws and regulations that could be eliminated without permitting Maryland workers to be exposed to occupational hazards. The first deals with the requirements for a Chemical Information List (CIL), found in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Labor and Employment Article, Title 5 (Occupational Safety and Health), Subtitle 4 (Access to Information About Hazardous and Toxic Substances). The CIL requires Maryland employers to format a list of hazardous and toxic substances, alphabetically, by common name. The CIL must also include the chemical name (or, in cases of mixtures, a list of the material’s ingredients), area of use and date of addition to the list. The CIL must be updated and submitted to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) every 2 years. The CIL must be kept by the employer for 40 years. The CIL requirement was generated as the result of Maryland legislative action in 1983. It was adopted as an addition to the requirements of the Federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HAZ COM), which was adopted by MOSH in 1983. The OSHA HAZ COM standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) also requires a list of chemicals to be generated by the employer. However, there is no need for alphabetization, ingredients, area of use or submission to any regulatory agency (it is maintained by the employer, along with associated Material Safety Data Sheets). It is superceded by the MOSH requirement. The current MOSH CIL requirements are burdensom for employers and offer no additional protection for employees than would be provided by the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200. The current CIL requirements also create a burden for MDE, which serves as the repository for the lists of some current 16,000 employers. The CIL requirements should be eliminated and replaced by the requirements of the current 29 CFR 1910.1200.

    The second and third regulatory issues are found at the same Title 5 (Occupational Safety and Health), but at Subtitile 5-602 and 5-603. Both deal with work in confined spaces and were adopted many years prior to the MOSH adoption of the current Federal OSHA standard for Permit Required Confined Spaces (29 CFR 1910.146). Subtitle 5-602, while enforced for many years, has not been enforced for nearly the last 20 years. The current Federal standard provides a level of protection that is at least as effective as the 5-602 requirements. Subtitle 5-603 also is addressed in the current 1910.146 standard, as well as other MOSH-adopted OSHA regulations (29 CFR 1910.268 and 269). Again, 5-603 has not been enforced by MOSH for over 20 years. Both are redundant and should be repealed.

    A fourth regulatory issue involves Title 5 (Occupational Safety and Health), section 5-604, Discrimination Against Employee. The section prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who participates in protected activity under the MOSH Law. The section permits affected employees to file written complaints with MOSH and to have the discriminatory action investigated. It requires the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to issue an investigatory determination within 90 days of the filed employee complaint. This same requirement appears in the Federal OSHA requirements (29 USC 660, section 11c). However, OSHA has determined that they may wave the 90-day determination time period where conditions of the investigation warrant an extension. OSHA, and other OSHA State Plan states (like Maryland), have realized that completing a discrimination investigation within 90 days is a near impossibility. Investigations typically involve employer and employee attorneys, absent or unavailable witnesses, inability of complainants to meet with MOSH investigators because of unavailable transportation or communication means, etc. This causes the investigation to run well beyond the 90-day time limitation (often beyond 250 days where settlement agreements are being negotiated). The 90-day time period strains available MOSH resources beyond their limits, causes case backlogs and created additional stress for complaining employees. The current 5-604 should be re-worded to allow an extension of the 90-day time limit for conditions beyond the control of MOSH or the Commissioner.

    I’d be happy to discuss the issues at greater length. Thanks

    • • Without the submission of chemical information lists (CIL) to MDE one of the main objectives of the program to establish a central repository of chemical information that employees and the public can access freely will be lost. This central repository of chemical information is supposed to be the reference material required to protect the rights of employees to a safe working environment and to substantiate claims of potential personal risks or injury from employers who might be considered negligent.

      • If an employer goes out of business, it is almost impossible for a former employee or the community to have access to the CIL.

      • Currently, a CIL is received, processed, verified for accuracy and entered into the central right-to-know repository at MDE. Having the review process performed outside of industry provides for higher level of data integrity as well as ease of access. Such integrity will be compromised without MDE’s review process because of MOSH’s proposal.

      • Worker Right-to-Know requirements are not duplicative of the federal OSHA requirements. Maryland law simply enhances the minimum federal requirements in requiring that CILs be submitted to MDE in alphabetized fashion and including the work location or storage of for chemicals identified. This is not burdensome; however, if the format of submitting this information is cumbersome then it can certainly be refined.

      • The threshold for reporting under the WRTK is zero, while under the federal, Title III of SARA (the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act or EPCRA), the threshold is 10, 000 lb of a hazardous substance or for an EHS it is 500 lb or the threshold planning quantity, whichever is less. Because of this higher threshold a large number of Maryland industries are not captured under the federal reporting requirements are captured under the Worker Right-to-Know program. This includes state, local and municipal agencies which are exempt from EPCRA, but not WRTK.

      • Since there will be no submission of lists to MDE, it will not be possible to respond to any chemical or medical emergencies in a timely manner. MDE’s current functions under the program require providing access to chemical information to:

      (a) A person who provides fire, ambulance, or rescue services for the appropriate geographic area
      (b) A nurse, physician, or physician assistant who is treating an individual in a medical emergency
      (c) A former employee of an inactive employer
      (d) The commissioner of Labor & Industry
      (e) An independent contractor
      (f) And as provided for under Environment Article, Section 6-503

      • In addition to the groups above who are required to be given access to CILs, environmental groups, civic organizations, and individuals who live in the community where a business stores, produces, or locates hazardous or toxic chemicals may also be given access upon request. Repeal of Maryland regulations or statute may result in loss of CIL access to these groups. At minimum, regulatory changes will make access more cumbersome because interested stakeholders would have to contact each individual business in their community for CILs.

      • If MDE’s regulations are repealed, MDE will not be able to perform its mandated functions required under Environment Article, Title 6, Subtitle 5 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

      • The current WRKT legislation is not onerous to Maryland businesses because there are no fees associated with its implementation and it requires very little over and above what the federal Hazard Communication regulations (29 CFR §1910.1200) already require. CILs are already required under federal law and MD WRTK simply requires business to submit this CIL to MDE and then update the CIL every two years.

      • Repeal of the regulations will not spur job creation. In fact, some jobs have been created in the requirement to submit CILs to MDE.

      • The CIL repository is used regularly by other administrations within MDE and other state agencies (MDE’s Environmental Crimes Unit, ARMA, LMA, and DLLR’s MOSH). It is also hoped that this extensive repository of chemical information could one day be used in concert with the statewide cancer, birth defects and occupational disease registries to provide for the identification of areas of risk. Thus this repository could be an invaluable source for occupational and epidemiological studies and thereby provide a rational approach to the protection of human health.

  • The county and state regulations with regards to business in the state of Maryland is totally out of control. I am currently involved in two projects, one that would maintain my current employees and another that would need new hires. Both projects involve new buildings. The first project involves accessing my property off a private road. I need to put a culvert in the roadside ditch to access my property. The state of Maryland has determined that this ditch is a wetland therefore instead of 300.00 for the culvert and installation the cost will be a 1500.00 application fee, a mitigation fee based on the square footage disturbed, engineering fees to plat the project and a 30 day public notice period. All this to put a culvert in an existing ditch on a private road to access my property. The other project is a larger retail operation whereas I want to rebuild my store about 300 feet from its current location, bring in another retailer that would build a new building at my existing location. The result would be two brand new buildings being built, 40-50 new jobs created, and an overall enhancement to this particular area. The problem is the state of Maryland continues to provide a “moving target” as to what the requirements are. You think you have satisfied one agency and another agency contradicts the first. This project has been in the works for well over two years and still no permits. Every county/state agency that we have dealt with regarding these two projects have thrown every roadblock possible our way. Wake up State of Maryland. These agencies should be doing everything possible to get these and other projects started and not looking for every possible way to hinder them.

    • We are in the very same situation! We already had an access road in to a piece of private property with an 18″ culvert pipe! There was a complaint from the neighbor above the property line that water backs up on his property–which it doesn’t. This “intermittent stream” doesn’t even necessarily have water in it once a year!

      The neighbor complained because he doesn’t want us expanding our business closer to him. (even though our plan allows for a 300′ grassland buffer between our developable area and his property) The reason we have to expand on the upper side of our property is because we are being boxed in at the bottom of our property by a bridge that Maryland has told us they are going to take 6 of our acres for (but yet even though they are paying for only 6, it is being put right in the middle of 20 acres and compromising our usage of it)

      Now we, too, are in the process of trying to get this culvert situation resolved among the various agencies! And it’s all unnecessary and expensive! The current pipe handles this water run off just fine! Since we’re having to do this to compensate for what Maryland is doing to us through eminent domain to begin with–why aren’t the approvals for our upper property development automatic in order to replace what we’re losing? Why isn’t the state helping us with this?

      First, the classifications of waterways in Maryland need to be realistic–i.e. stop calling an area that may or may not flow once a year when it HEAVILY rains a stream. Second, the local MDE needs to work more readily with the people in its jurisdiction. I have had occasion to speak with Director Sakai of the Water Management Division at the state level about a prior situation and found him to be forthright and extremely helpful. Why doesn’t this attitude of working WITH the business owners with the “big picture in mind” extend down to the local levels? This is nothing but a HUGE business/employment killer. We are getting very frustrated.

      Governor O’Malley, I saw earlier where a post was under your name in response to one of the comments and I would love to receive an acknowledgement of this situation, if possible.

  • In the opening paragraph of this column, it’s stated that this opportunity to comment is specifically for, “…changing and/or eliminating regulations in order to spark faster job creation.” In other words, to help the citizens of Maryland. But some have gotten away from that specific notion, which is easily understandable. I too have a suggestion that some might think does not fit this category.

    Recently, most, if not all, State employees received the MCC package for choosing charities for donations. Donating any amount would not only help employees of those charities keep their jobs, but would also help those who are going through very difficult times, perhaps searching for jobs. In essence, donations help, “…to build a stronger future for our state.”

    My proposal is to allow anyone who now has salary automatically taken by a union, against their wishes, to have that salary instead be donated to a charity through the MCC.

    I recently wrote to each of the important State officials who are listed in the front of the MCC catalog. I expressed my desire to make this change, and asked for their assistance in doing so. I have not heard anything back yet.

    This would not only help Maryland citizens, but would truly provide “feel-good” intangibles, quite different from what is now happening with mandatory Union “giving”.

    Thanks for listening, and also for the opportunity to comment.

  • Vehicle emissions checks: on modern cars, checking for emissions is nearly trivial since the car’s computers do the checking. Can this check be done using licensed inspection stations? Allowing out of state inspections would also be particularly useful for those of us who work out of state and hence typically have our auto work done in DE, PA or VA.

  • A friend who owns a laundry mat was very upset that he had to spend money on insurance for his “boiler” and that the “boiler” needed to be inspected. The “boiler” in his case was just a regular hot water heater. Now, I don’t know if death or injury from commercial hot water heaters in various environs is common, but it seems like a review of the situation could be undertaken and if there is no issue, then the regulation re-written to accurately reflect modern equipment.

  • allow MD licenced alcohol retail stores to sell and send wine to directly to consumers. let the MD retail stores go electronic and sell wine on line – it opens new markets for them.

    let distributors sell wine directly to consumers. Why is there a middle tier? This adds NO value in the 21st century and dates to “tied” houses of post prohibition.

    • Hip hip hooray!!! What a wonderful idea!

  • get rid of the excessive protective alcohol laws.

    Why restrict the number of restaurant licences in a area? let the market decide. The state should allow licences to be given to all who meet the qualifications and apply.

    The restaurants should not be able to “sell” state given licences to others. These are State licences that the state only gets to “sell”.

    allow “corkage”, why can’t a restaurant that is licensed to sell alcohol be allowed to let customers bring their favorate wine? Let the restaurant decide if they want to allow this. NOT the state, county etc… look at the standard for this in CA and the rest of the non- Islamic world.

  • eliminate volume discounts for using EZ PASS. This makes NO sense. The people who use services should pay for the services. IF businesses don’t want to use EZ Pass, let them wait in line. In a state that needs revenue giving discounts such as this makes no sense. Set the tolls at reasonable rates for everyone.

    Post-Usage Plan
    The Post-Usage Discount Plan is account specific and is based on all transponders used on the account at eligible facilities, for five (5) or more axle vehicles. After the plan is added to your account, the cycle begins on the date of the first toll transaction and runs for thirty (30) days thereafter (e.g. you open an account on 11/3/11 your five-axle vehicle uses an eligible facility on 11/6/11 it will run 12/6/11, 1/5/12, etc.) Calculation of the post-usage discount is based on the following and does not include any applicable fees that may have been deducted from your account during the calculation period. Effective January 1, 2012.

    $150 to $1,999 of toll usage – 10 percent discount
    $2,000 to 7,500 of toll usage – 15 percent discount
    $7,500 or more of toll usage – 20 percent discount

  • Maryland, Article 37:

    “That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.”

    Why does a member of the state congress have to believe in God? Needing to declare a belief in a higher power IS a religious test and should not, and does not, have any real bearing on whether someone can be a fair, caring, and valuable member of congress.

    • I don’t see how your complaint will help business in MD. From the way the legislature presently acts I would say that there are plenty of members who don’t believe in God. To me that complaint is superfluous to the problems at hand, because it sure hasn’t provided a solution…

      What the state needs are less taxes and regulations, and a more balanced approach to the needs of “all” of the citizens of MD and not just to those who support the party in power…

  • There must be a mandatory retirement age of 67 as the maximum allowable age for employment in State of Maryland. This will create more job opportunity and advancement at every level.

    • This is a real age discrimination suggestion. Folks are living into their 90′s and beyond and many are productive until their late 70′s and even 80′s. The wealth of knowledge and experience many of our older employees have– I am one of them –cannot be replaced so easily. If a person is productive and healthy and can continue to be as asset to his/her agency, why would you want to replace him/her with an inexperienced person? Sure this can save money, but unless it is not physically possible for the person to function in the positon, mandatory retirement is unfair and would not be that cost effective. After all, these folks will then collect retirement benefits.

    • …. not to mention that many people have to work past 67 because their 401k/403bs got flushed away in the tide of greed that is Wall Street.

    • While you are at it, how about making a mandatory death age? All those seventy years of age must report to the termination center?

      Seriously….this idea is below stupid. It is totalitarian. Who are you to tell people they must vacat a job they can do and are doing? Would you then order private businesses to fire people at 67, even if they just made employee of the month?

      • Mandatory Retirement age in state system is a very good idea. It provides opportunity for people who are below us to advance, and also it opens up more quickly at all levels. It will cut down payroll cost, increase productivity and morale, and will definitely offer more opportunity for the unemployed in Maryland State. Also, if the Personnel knows the exact date of our retirement, they can plan and prepare way ahead to fill that spot. Not knowing when a person will retire brings uncertainty and chaos in an organization.

        This suggestion is only for the State Government, and not for Private enterprises. Those who retire from state system could always move to Private sector and offer their expertise, if they choose to. Staying in State system because we are able to function well in our job, or our 401K is down, are not good enough reasons for our prolonged stay. The real issue here is that the potential retirees are basically clogging the state system, and thereby preventing any new comers coming into the State system. Perhaps, the Governor could give certain window of time frame so that the potential retirees could exit themselves gracefully, and thereby making room for the future generation.

        When we think of policy implementation, we must think beyond ourselves as individuals. It is not about “ME”, but it is about the common good of the whole State system. No wonder the X and Y generation question the motives of baby boom generation always.

        No one is suggesting that one should report to the termination center at certain age. But instead you may want to consider writing a Living Will saying “do not resuscitate”. That may cut down Medicare and Medicaid expense drastically, and State of Maryland may have enough money in their budget to give us all a good pay raise!

        This whole dialogue is all about job creation, and cost cutting policies, and so let us stick with that!

  • Outdoor Advertising (OA):
    The OA program is in major need of reform. The new law which enables the State to bill entities illegally placing signs in State right-of-way is a good step in the right direction, however, the OA sign permit and licensing regulations need updating, specifically with regards to pricing. Currently, the annual permit fee for an OA sign is $10-$35, depending on the sign’s size, with a $5 late fee. The annual fee for an OA license is $50-$700, depending on the number of signs an entity controls. I don’t know the last time these fees were raised, but I can guarantee that this program costs more to administer than it brings into the State. The Annotated Code allows the State to establish these fees, which should be raised to at least provide the funding the State needs to operate the program. Additionally, creating an online interface for this would cut down on employee time and office supply expenses while providing faster response time.

    Transportation Funding:
    The Blue Ribbon Commission was formed to address this critical issue and ultimately decided to recommend raising the gas tax. While this may end up being necessary, unfortunately, it’s only going to band-aid the problem. Federal and State governments need to direct more efforts into transportation funding reform. Newer cars are becoming increasingly more fuel efficient, which is great environmentally, but problematic if we continue to rely on a flat gas tax to fund all roadway projects. These cars get more miles to the gallon, hence traveling farther, putting more wear and tear on roadways, on less fuel, paying less for the increased use of the roadway. Conversely, “gas-guzzlers” are using roads less and paying more for them. Moving to a pay-per-mile model has many challenges, but can be done. The way transportation projects are funded needs to be reformed to adapt to the changing face of transportation – funding processes need to advance as transportation technologies advance.

    Union Dues:
    I agree with other individuals who have spoken out against the forced contributions to the union. If I wanted to join the union, I would have. Deducting dues directly from my pay check to pay into an organization which I have elected not to join and then sending me a packet detailing the benefits I would have of joining the union, now that I am involuntarily paying them anyway, feels like coercion.

    State employees have been very generous over the past few years helping the State budget with furlough days, service reduction days, and going with out step and cost of living adjustments, on top of which we’ve had our pension contributions increased and these mandatory dues piled on us. Whenever State employees get their step increases reinstated, I’d really like to see them reinstated at the level they would have reached if not for the years of being passed over – e.g. If an employee was at step 10 before five years without step increases, when steps finally get reinstated, instead of going to step 11, the employee is at step 15. We’ve put in the time, and significant portions of our pay, we deserve at least this much.

  • Suspend fees for new businesses for a year. More people will start business, which will create jobs.

  • original hire date: 4/2000 montgomery county gov. as a registered nurse, 11 yrs into service, yet still the lowest paid in the county. co-workers with less education and experience have been able to advance, transfer, get better pay, and promotions, due to their birthplaces, (not in this country, they are not citizens, although living here for over 20 yrs!) they use me ti cover for their extensive vacations and when they work their other jobs (unreported) when they call in “fake sick” on mondays and fridays. This has gone on for over 6 yrs. I’m overworked and management refuses to give me even EQUAL pay. they refuse to allow me to transfer out, not even a demotion for a lower pay to full time status!I am part-time, but they have always expected me to put in more hours than that. I kept my mouth closed for all these yrs because they will set me up if I squeal. I need the health insurance for my adult disabled son and now myself!!The union is in cahoots with the county management. Why does the STATE allow this corruption? WHY? what happened to the fair pay act? I have advanced heart disease now from PTSD. Pass the healthy workplace bill. work shouldn’t hurt…

  • Budget Solutions

    Priorites and Performance must drive budget allocations. Designing a substantial budget requires legislators to address four key questions:

    1. What must the state accomplish?

    2.How will the state measure progress and success?

    3. How much money does the state have available to spend?

    4. Where is the optimal point in regards to efficient and effective delivery of services with available funds?

    A. Privatize

    Identify what private firms can do cheaper and more efficient and let them do it.Privatization
    of infrastructure and state operations would reduce budget burdens and improve service
    delivery.

    B. Rein in Public Pensions

    Replace Defined Benefit Plans with with Defined Contribution Plans.

    C. Permanently Limit Spending

    The Legislator should be prohibited from increasing spending at a faster rate than inflation and population growth.Maryland is required to pass a Balanced Budget according to the Constitution.

    D. Eliminate Prevailing Wage Laws

    Unionized construction companies significantly inflate the cost of any government project. The savings would amount to double digits in state construction and maintenance.

    E. Reoccurring Non-Tax Revenue

    Utilization and development of natural resources provides the most effective source of reoccurring non-tax revenue for the state.

    F. Procurement Reform

    In today’s world , improved business practices offer significant opportunites to cut costs and improve service quality. The state of Virginia is a good example of this concept. It realized an estimated $114 million in savings from 2001 2004 by securing lower prices on selected goods and services. thru improved contracting practices.

    1. Increase the dolar volume of current state wide contracts for goods and services and set targets for cost reductions .

    2. Expand the cooperative purchasing across state agencies and organize for results.

    3. Engage other entities such as (Public Colleges, universities, and school districts) jurisdictions and other states in cooperative purchasing arrangements to expand buying power

    4. Initiate or expand the volume of E-procurement activities and simplify rules and regulations to reduce the costs of buying

    5. Recalibrate and update the skills of the procurement staff and strengthen vendor relationships

  • I should like to say, that I think the way we get our supplies, stinks! We should not be worried about minorities in this economy. We should absolutly be getting them from the cheapest place we can. To that end, I have started to take all of the empty toner containers to the store to recycle them. The store in turn allowes me to get $2. worth of office supplies. That savings isn’t a lot but has helped my office.

  • Looking at all the comments below is sad. Very few are about Regulatory Reform to stimulate private sector job growth. Higher pay, flex time, and electronic timesheets for gov’t workers does not solve anything for the problems we are all facing. We need to get a higher amount of tax PAYERS or none of this matters. Although you may pay taxes, if your income comes from taxes in the first place you should be looking for ways to help the private sector grow or pretty soon the well will run dry!!!!! Just saying

  • Please stop the requirement of union dues for those that are not members of any union. It is not fair to pay for processes and organizations that we do not believe in. The burden of donation should not be placed onto the dues payer either. We should not have to submit proof of donation to a charity in place of the union. We should be given the option, not the requisite.

  • I suggest that the Voluntary Separation Program (Employee Retirement Incentive/Buyout) should be offered to state employees again. The VSP that was offered in December 2010 resulted in several million dollars saved in payroll and the cost of health benefits by the participation of 1,000+ employees who retired at the end of January 2011.

    • I think the Governor and his policy makers should look at programs that they are running to see how they may be restricting job creation. Additionally, they should make sure programs and regulations are being run to the intent of what the legislature passed the law to begin with. The agencies should not have so much power that they are not implementating the laws correctly. An example of this, is DDA’s LISS program. The LISS program is a wonderful program and very needed as it is almost pretty much the ONLY program for a child with a disablity under 21 in MD to get some type of help/funding. It provides about $3,000 a year for some type of critical funding for a child. However, every year DDA seems to have new rules and restrictions around the program which not only does not possible help the family or individual with a disability. For example, one year they allowed (last year) speech therapy coverage and occupational coverage and this year they are not. Yet the law has not changed, so how can they cover one year and not the next. The coverage for speech therapy/occupational therapy are very key to children with disabilities. Paying for a speech therapist would go to the economy and have trickle down effect. Myself and other families (at least 6 other families I have spoken too), have been told there is not funding this year for certain necessary and critical services they received last year(critical therapeutic services such as speech, occupational therapy and tutoring, because DDA believes the child should be receiving it in school and if they are receiving it in school, they should not get LISS funding) However, everyone is not receiving those services in school and the individual with a disability may need additional or specialized services the school does not provide. I do not think it was the legislature’s intention to limit or be so restrictive in what the family or individual can use these funds for – the MD Health General Code Ann. § 7-717, Subtitle 7, Developmental Disabilities Law, Nonresidential Programs, Part V, Low Intensity Support Services c. Indicates Flexibility in administration of services – Low intensity support services shall be flexible in to meet the needs of individuals or families. Additionally, it appears DDA is not following COMAR 10.22.06.02 which is cited on DDA’s website. LISS services are to be in accordance with COMAR 10.22.06.02 Family and Individual Support Services (FISS). The rationale in COMAR 10.22.06.02 states:
      .02 Rationale.
      A. Services are to be flexible and dynamic to meet the needs of individuals or families desiring specific areas of support and for those who have changing needs.
      B. Services are to be readily adaptable to the changing needs of the individual.
      C. The flexibility inherent in FISS lends itself to creative and innovative ways of supporting individuals and their families.
      DDA is not following the above provision in COMAR in that some of the areas that they are restricting and saying they are not going to provide services for – therapeutic services such as speech, occupational therapy, tutoring – all of which are extremely critical to a child’s development. DDA is denying point blank -speech, OT, etc. if you receive any of these services in the school system –(they call it duplicative services and you are not able to use LISS funds for those services.) They will cover the co-pays for the speech, but not the speech therapy itself. However, my son does not get enough speech in school, and I know many other parents who have the same problem of not getting enough or specialized speech therapy in the school system.
      I can get horse back riding, and swimming, but not speech therapy or occupational therapy?
      This is an example of where the government is restricting the economy and not implementing a program correctly in my view point.

    • The problem with the buyout was, that you could only take advantage of it, if your job was being abolished. I don’t know about other state employees, but in my unit, we are SOO short handed that we won’t EVER be abolishing jobs. We need to add jobs. We actually had a few people who were interested, but could not take advantage of it for this reason.

  • Significant outsourcing of state functions has resulted in state agencies using contract vehicles that were meant to be used for specific and occasional jobs to address the shortfall in their permanent staff. State government has become significantly dependent on the individuals that provide these services (not the companies they work for). State pays over 140% overhead to these companies for the services that are often provided on state facilities. State uses significant resources on securing and managing contracts with these companies. Having five year contracts with the individuals instead of the companies can provide more jobs in the state and more labor for the tax payer’s dollar. Granted this may mean some one paying for their own health insurance but that person could be some one who did not have a job yesterday to pay for that insurance. Much of it will come from CEOs not upgrading that Mercedes to the Ferrari this year.

  • Have inspectors inspect at night every now and then. There are a lot of contractors who only work at night and it would be great to see if they are following regulations or if they aren’t. And if they aren’t we can send NOVs to them and bring in money to the state.

  • Thank you Governor for this opportunity. I have two areas that I think need to be looked at. One of these I sent a letter to your office as a last effort and was sent right back to the beginning. For three years I have tried to have the speed limit on Fairhaven road lowered(Route 423). I was told by the State Administration that this road is a state road and the speed limit has to stay at 30 miles an hour. Our population continues to grow and people do not obey any of the speed signs especially across our bridge where in the summer children crab. We also have many more bikers which include both bicycles and motor cycles. The State Roads representative said since there have been no accidents on the road there is no need for the speed limit to be reduced. He went on to tell me that bikes were not allowed on the road. Help, our various associations are very concerned about this problem.
    I am also concerned about the lack of police on our road. Perhaps the county should take over Fairhaven Road. At most signs could be put up warning to be aware of the people who walk and or ride this route as well as children who fish or crab on the bridge.

  • Bring Low/Level supervisors into Bargaining Unit, since we also do the work.

    Enforce the fair overtime distribution policies.

    Upgrade and/or reclass positions and also rewrite Job Descriptions to bring them up to date as of 2011.

    Thank You from a 12 year State Employee!

  • Union “dues”
    Wholehartedly agree with comments re mandatory union “dues” taken from salary. Initially was labeled as “full union member” with greater amount taken. Eact time sought help with in my agency also with in DBM, was greeted with “Take it up with union.” Does “Catch 22″ ring bell? Suggest everyone affected support and encourage recision of Feb 14, 2011 MOU signed by State and Union. See all MOU on DBM website on state employee pages.

    State vehicles
    Save wear and tear, discontinue use of state cars for travel to and from home (except police). Also, discontinue policy requiring the need to put at least 10,000 miles on every vehicle yearly. Our office encouraged throughout year to do this so we “won’t lose vehicles.”

    • I would say for the police and emergency response workers taking a vehicle home is okay. There are too many people driving a state vehicle home because it keeps from them having to put a lot of miles on their own vehicles.

  • The following comment is an excert from a leter written to my Congressional Representatives regarding my own personal experience:

    I am writing you because, like many Americans, I have fallen victim to the woes of the economy. However, my misfortune is not the result of a lay off, or business closing. No, I am a victim of Maryland’s “employment at-will” mandate which allows an employer to willfully terminate me at their own discretion for any reason, cited or uncited, justifiable or not. In addition to that, I was under the covering of Workers Compensation, when days after being notified of a scheduled settlement hearing my employer terminated me citing their right to exercise Maryland’s “employment at-will” policy. Please understand, I am not writing because I am disgruntled for losing my $65,000 position while being injured and still receiving medical care, but with all of the talk about putting Americans back to work, surely our Government Representatives recognize that policies like this are counterproductive to the goal of a working America.

    In addition, I find it an utter disgrace that a company that is operating on government funds, as a Government Contractor, should be allowed to add to the problem that our government is working so vigorously to resolve – Unemployment.

    In addition, as a former State employee of 12+ years and eligible for reinstatement, I find myself having door after door slammed in my face being overlooked for positions in which I would have been an ideal candidate for several positions for which I applied working with Maryland’s federal grants for which I provided Federal oversight nationally in my previous position as a Long Term Care/Home and Community Based Sr. Grants Specialist.

    If employers are free to willfully and randomly put people out of work, what good is a Jobs plan? In reviewing the regulations, this is an area that also needs to be addressed as it is counterproductive to putting people back to work with little or no job security.

    Also, Maryland, stop playng games with the hiring process, if you know you’re going to hire your friend, qualified or not, don’t lead people along for the sake of going through the motions of a recruitment and interview process only to hire your friendly candidate. How are peple expected to get back to work when the pool of qualified candidates are being passed over for favors and those already employed.

    • Employers MUST have the right to hire and fire as they please. Its not counterproductive to a jobs plan if employers lay off or fire workers because they have the right to do that. Your case sounds strange, but it cant be dealt with by changing lesgislation so that everytime I need to let someone go there will be a MD case. Pretty soon business owners will not find it important to hire anyone. You sound like you are relying on what the federal and state government owe you. Good luck with that. Of course you could always go out and start your own business????? Then you would really know what it is about to be an employer and I am sure your views would change someday when you needed to make some tough decisions.

  • Here is a revenue generator, and an incentive for people to take the risk of ID theft more seriously.

    Too many, and I mean TOO MANY duplicate driver licenses are made and issued. A few of these are stolen, and a few are replacing damaged licenses. But the greatwest number of duplicates are lost due to sheer carelessness.

    At present all duplicates cost 20 dollars. If a person is in the habit of losing licenses, branch management has to approve the fourth duplicate in a row. However, the count starts all over again as soon as the applicant applies for a renewal or a correction.

    Here is the better policy:
    1: Duplicates for stolen products remain at 20 dollars, provided the applicant has a police report of the theft, and for damaged licenses {laminate peeling off} if the damaged license is still in the hands of the applicant.

    2: Fee for all other duplicates is raised to Forty dollars from Twenty…amd is increased by 20 dollars for each subsequent duplicate in the next thirty year period. So, lose you license? Forty bucks. Lost it again? 60 bucks. Good grief….you lost it again??? 80 bucks!

    3: ID Cards {not licenses} would remain free for the handicapped or elderly, regardless of being a duplicate.

    The general public will modify it’s behavior if they have an incentive. On busy days at the MVA, particularly before or after holidays and during summer vacation to see a lobby full of frustrated people, and their wait times are increased because as much as a quarter of the service numbers given out are for duplicate products!

  • Child support needs to be changed to make it fair to all parties. Its not fair that the payer of child support doesn’t get to write off these payments during tax time, or claim the children as dependents, but the Mother (in some cases) gets to use them as dependents on their taxes and they don’t have to claim the money they received as income. Its just free money. I know someone who pays 700 a month. So at the end of the year someone has collected 8400 and doesn’t have to claim a bit of it.

    • I agree that child support needs to be reformed, but not in the manner in which you describe. A custodial parent is reponsible for far more than the non-custodial parent when it comes to bringing up a child. Child support isn’t earned income for the custodial parent, so it shouldn’t be taxed. By taxing the custodial rather than the non-custodial parent, it will be taking much needed money out of the hands of those that need it most. The point of paying child support is just that…support the child. Would you have a child go without food or shelter because a non-custodial parent didn’t think it was fair to pay tax on child support?

      A different approach may be to change the way the support is collected. Hold the non-custodial parents to higher standards for payment. Don’t let them hide from their responsibilities. By giving a break to non-custodial parents, for whatever the reason, the courts have forced custodial parents into the system of government assistance. It’s the ripple effect on a grand scale!

      In today’s society, divorce rates are climbing every year. Some of those broken marriages brought forth many children impacted by the drastic change in household income. When one parent is left with the job of both, it puts a strain not only on the parent, but the children as well. The custodial parent may have to find a second, or third, job to make ends meet. The parent may be eligible for food stamps, or cash assistance. Now the goverment is paying to raise someone’s children. And because the custodial parent is working more than he/she should, the kids are now raising themselves. They don’t realize their surroundings are less than desirable, and may grow up thinking it’s normal. It could lead to them following the same path: be a single parent, depend on the government to take care of you.

      This doesn’t paint the picture of how every single parent household operates. But I have seen it happen.

      Why not hold non-custodial parents accountable for financially supporting their children? I would love to have had my ex pay support over the last 20 years. His arrears top $52,000. I worked hard to provide my kids with the best life I could give them. They are not part of the system. But I know some who are, and they are from single parent households.

      It’s the ripple effect on a grand scale, but if you take a step back, you could see it.

      Thanks for asking our opinions, and I hope it matters this time. I’ve barked up this tree when Glendenning was governor. It didn’t work then, hasn’t worked since. But my fingers are crossed this time.

    • Perhaps it would bring more fairness to the situation if the person receiving the child support were required to submit receipts to prove that the money is actually being used for the children’s material needs. Where is the fairness in the parent paying child support buying all of the clothes, shoes, instruments, equipment, supplies, etc.? In the case of a joint custody agreement where both parents are to divide the cost of sports activities, camps, extra curricular participation, etc. it would reduce abuse if there was a reporting function included in the agreement. The parent that is paying for all of these activities would welcome some integrity into the system when the other party never comes through with their half.

      • Curious…why would receipts be needed to prove care of a child? If that was a requirement, perhaps the non-custodial parent should pay daycare or medical or educational type bills directly to that organization. Something where a receipt is expected. Would it be wise to buy food in separate orders…one for the parent and one for the kids…just for a different receipt? Milk is milk! And should the support be late, or in arrears, should the custodial parent save these extra receipts? Additionally, what if the child is injured? Should the custodial parent submit an amendment to the original agreement outlining the need for additional funds?

        When calculating amounts for child support, the monthly child rearing expenses are tabulated, then compared with the percentage of income from both parents. Each parent is responsible for their percentage of expense. There is no need to itemize how the money is spent, because that was addressed when the payments were established.

        The purpose of a child support payment is for the non-custodial parent to assist the custodial parent with the financial needs of the child. Adding a requirement to submit receipts for every expense would make government even larger than it is, something this suggestion page is trying to avoid.

      • Non-custodial parents often try to live up to their demands but when there is a 65% wage garnishment enforced, it forces this person to live on 35% income. When the drivers’ license is suspended due to arrearage, it becomes difficult or impossible to maintain employment. Then, if the non-custodial parent is still non-compliant, the state threatens with incarceration. Yet, if judges were realistic in the beginning with child-support this real-lilfe scenario would not have occurred.

        I simply ask that the drivers’ license suspension be revoked so that non-custodial parents can get to work and support their children.

    • “The purpose of a child support payment is for the non-custodial parent to assist the custodial parent with the financial needs of the child”

      If the custodial parent isn’t using the support to pay for clothes, shoes, and general grooming of the children then they should show receipts for what they are using the money for.

      Or, the non-custodial parent should be able to just buy gift cards for the grocery store, kids foot locker, and a few stores that sell kids clothes and then it would actually go towards the children.

      And if the non-custodial parent is paying support why shouldn’t they be able to deduct these payments when doing their taxes. If they are paying they are paying, its not like anyone’s saying if they don’t pay they should still be able to write them off. Being bitter towards all non-custodials isn’t going to make things fair, especially when there are parents who pay and are still treated badly by the system. Its not always a lifetime movie.

    • I agree that child support absolutely must be looked at with a fine-toothed comb, and changes must be made.

      I am what you would call a “non-custodial” parent – my teens live with their father and stepmother and I pay child support. Our situation is different than many, but I still believe that my ideas merit thought.

      My ex and his current wife live in a million-dollar home in Montgomery County and together bring in several hundred thousand dollars each year. My fiancee and I live in a $100,000 old home in a poorer county and together bring in much, much less than my ex and his wife. The current child support regulations focus only on the incomes of the biological parents and do not take into account the total household incomes of both parties. Thanks to the current child support regulations, and direct wage payments of child support, I bring home about $400 each paycheck, half of which goes towards our house payment. Meanwhile, my ex and his wife take expensive vacations, dine out regularly and have a housekeeper. I can’t afford to fix my leaky roof, but my ex can take our children to the Caribbean. The disparity in our household incomes is ridiculous. If you’re looking for ways to make life better for Marylanders, please consider revising the child support regulations here.

      • In addition to Still a Parent, the state law should be amended for “Voluntary Impoverishment” when determining child support. Over 30% of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are disabled. The divorce rates are even higher within the military.

        When a judge determines income, pending VA disability claims are not considered as well as the current ability to earn an income which may be drastically different than previous income. Yet, when “voluntary impoverishment” is determined because one cannot afford to fix a leaky roof (as in the case above) these same myopic judges will dismiss the critical income differential.

        When 65% wage garnishments are enforced, vulnerable veterans are then at risk for becoming homeless. When the drivers’ license is suspended due to arrearage, this vulnerable veteran will potentially be forced to sleep on the street since the shelters are overflowing and a license is needed to move the car in the morning.

        Incarceration is the next course of action sanctioned by the state—to a vulnerable veteran that served our country in an ugly war.

        Proposal: 1. Reinstate drivers’ license to non-custodial parents so they can get to work. 2. Reform child support to take into consideration of step-parents’ incomes 3. Remove the clause “voluntary impoverishment” from the courts 4. Require judges to take into consideration of pending VA claims that take sometimes two years to finalize 5. Reform child support. 6. Reform child support 7. Reform child support. 8. Reform child support.

  • MDA does not have any support to fine violators. If we had better support from legislature to attach fines and fees to regulations we could not only collect revenue and add some bite to our bark. In 2004 we had an Avian Influenza outbreak which triggered a law requiring anyone who owns more than 5 birds register with MDA. There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have not done so which not only makes our jobs more difficult but puts the health of our people and animals at risk. This being said we have no fines for not registering. If we were to have better enforcement of laws that are already established we would not need new ones that we don’t/can’t enforce.
    Child support needs to be revampted. Fees are charged to the parent trying to collect not to the non paying parent. Maryland could also charge interest on the arrearage and keep a small percent to help fund BOSE. Set up a paid work program for parents in jail so they can pay. Children still need to be cared for even if a parent is in jail.
    Stop taking money out for union dues. I choose not to join for a reason. The $750 “bonus” will be paid to the union over the next 2 years. At current rates the union will cost me over $7000 by the time I retire. This is money that could be spent elsewhere that MD would collect sales tax on and create a need for new jobs.
    Cut Management positions. How many paper shufflers do we need? The most work comes from the lowest paid people. Make everything we can electronic and the cut in salaries will pay for the intial costs of going electronic.
    Better benefits. The whole reason to work for the state is the benefits. It costs a lot of money to hire and train new people that stay for a year until they find something better because of furloghs or SR days or lack of bennies. Get rid of contracts except under special circumstances. Full time people deserve full time benefits! The higher up the scale the bigger perks you get ad the less you pay, that’s not the way it should be. Allow all state employees to attain second jobs. We currently need to have it approved which is hard to do in some cases and by the time we get approval the job has passed us by.
    Pay increases. The more money floating around the more comes out of it. I can’t pay tax on things I can’t buy can’t afford to buy. Money gets spent, creates need for services/products hence creates jobs. Quit bailing out big business and hand the money to the people and we’ll pay our bills which will get the money back to the big business and banks anyway. So everybody wins.

    • What needs to happen is an overhaul of the carry permit system. Allow other states permits to be used in Maryland as well as loosen the noose around lawful gun owners in MD.

      I’m currently an armed security officer and deployed with the Maryland Guard. I called about a renewal for my carry permit. I’ve got to re apply like a fresh applicant spend $200+ just to renew that amount includes fingerprints photo application fee. what’s the point? DCJS in Virginia allows for people that are military to get a suspension on their carry permit while deployed. I asked the person in charge of applications he said “no i wish we did” this is an outrage i’ve already paid once now i’ve gotta start over even though it’s just a renewal? That’s crazy

      Statistics have shown that areas and states that have open carry or easily obtained concealed carry permits have less crime. I’m no gun nut but i want my state to stop being so anal retentive about guns. We need them for our safety of our family and our homeland.

  • I think the legislators should think of ways to impose and collect the revenues on the existing tax laws that have been implemented instead of thinking of new tax legislation. Maryland is one of the states with so many tax laws. Do you want the residents to continue migrating to PA, VA, and Delaware to avoid some of these taxes? You have already decided that the tolls are being increased next month, now you want to add another tax on gas???? Come on Mr Governor, there are so many flaws that exist in the collection of the taxes already imposed. Adding new legislation increases the taxes for certain groups who are already exhausted with taxes. Salaries have not been increased but the cost of living has. Instituting additional taxes will incur more jobless individuals since the private sector will ensure that there profits remain constant even if it requires reducing the workforce.

    Train your employees and give them the tools to collect outstanding liabilities that exist throughout our state. I have sure we have billions of dollars in uncollected revenue from property taxes, alcohol and tobacco, sales and use, income tax…… and so on…..

    • Budget Solutions

      Priorities and Performance must drive budget allocations. Desigining a sustainable budget requires Legislators to address four key questions:

      1. What must the state accomplish
      2.How will the state measure progress and success
      3. How much money does the state have available to spend
      4. Where is the optimal point in regards to the efficient and effective delivery of services with available funds

      A. Privatize
      Identify what private firms can do cheaper and more efficient and let them do it.Privatization of infrastructure and state operations would reduce budget burdens and improve service delivery.

      B. Rein in Public Pensions

      Replace Defined benefit plans with Defined Contribution Plans. The key differences involve the establishment of a fixed payment toward services. Implementing Defined contribution plans would end the endless cost escallations of non-salary compenstation.

      C. Permanently Limit Spending

      The Legislature should be prohibitied from spending at a faster rate than Inflation and population growth.Maryland is required to Pass a Balanced Budget. Article III Sec. 52 of the Constitution.

      D. Eliminate Prevailing Wage Laws

      Unionized construction companies significantly inflate the cost of any government project. The savings would amount to double digits in state construction and maintenance.This could translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue spending growth.

      E. Reoccurring Non-Tax revenue

      Utilization and development of natural resources provides the most effective source of reoccuring non-tax revenue for the state.

      F. Procurement Reform

      In todays world improved business practices offer significant opportunites to cut costs and and improve service quality. The state of Virgina exemplifies this concept.

      1. Increase the dollar volume of current statewide contracts for goods and services and set targets for cost reductions.
      2. Expand the cooperative across state agencies and organize for results.

      3. Engage other entities such as (Public Colleges,Universities, and school districts) jurisdictions and other states in cooperative purchasing arrangements to expand the buying power

      4. Initiate or expand the volume of E-Procurement activities to simplify the rules and regulations to reduce the cost of buying.

      5. Recalibrate and update the skills of Procurement staff and strengthen vendor relationships

      Conclusion:

      The Taxpayer has little appetite for higher taxes. Microeconomic theory tell us that tax hikes discourage rather than promote economic growth(IE Arthur Laffer: The Laffer Curve
      The price of government is limited by the value that the Taxpayer get from government compared to Opportunity Cost elsewhere.Government institutions must learn to work smarter and stay relevant in the supply chain of public services

  • All state employees need a raise. Over the last several years our wages have decreased due to all deductions and forced furlough days. The economy is bad enough and so are the state salaries. STOP Union fees from coming out of our paychecks. If we wanted to belong to the union we would have joined. I think it is illegal to make us pay for a Union that does nothing. Retirees should have the same health/prescription benefits as regular employees. That is why we have a state job; for the benefits. Don’t take them away when they are needed most.

  • You, Governor O’Malley have set up this forum for employees to brainstorm to help spark faster job creation and I’m guess to help retain employees; however in a previous email you ent out to State Employees (SUBJECT: Flu Shots & Generoisty) you included in another link, (http://dbm.maryland.gov/benefits/Documents/PlanYear2012/FY12HBPlanChanges.pdf) your Healthcare Reform 2011-2012. I wonder how many employees really noted what was included in your message regarding JULY 1, 2020 retirees will no longer be eligible to participate in the State prescription drug plan. I have to contemplate if you are also working on taking our insurance from the state workers when they retire too! A major reason to work for the STATE has always been because of the benefits that we are able to maintain when we retire, now that you are taking some of that from us, how do you propose to retain employees, let alone recruit new hires. It won’t be because of the generous salaries and increases, because my paychecks have decreased because of the dues that are helping with your polical career.

  • I think they should limit the number of times a veteran can use the veterans preference points for being hired. Once they use this and are actually hired, they should be equal to all other employees. Alot of employees are eligible to move into higher paying positions but are not selected because the position has to be offered to the veteran who gets extra points over the highest possible score of 100%. I am in favor of them using this system but not everytime they wish to apply for a position. I thought the whole purpose of this was to get them employed not to just let them keep moving around and keep them above other candidates for all interviews for the rest of their career.

  • Timekeeping/Payroll
    My agency continues to use paper timesheets which promote fraud. I suggest the elimination of paper timesheets and implement electronic timekeeping for all state agencies through the use of State identification badges. The magnetic strip on the badges can be enhanced for electronic timekeeping. The initial cost of an electronic system will be recovered through accurate timekeeping and elimination of payroll fraud. A successful electronic timekeeping system has been in place with Johns Hopkins for several years.

    State Funded Parking
    In my agency, the State currently pays the cost for employee parking in a downtown Baltimore parking garage. I suggest cost savings by reducing the number of available parking spaces or by requiring participating employees to pay a percentage of the monthly or annual parking cost.

    Corporate & Citizen Taxes
    State offices need to improve their rate of recovery for back taxes on corporations and citizens, to include child support.

    • I agree on the time sheet. But I do not think anyone should have to pay to park their car at work. I think you would get more response if you limit yourself to one idea per comment.

  • The different divisions in certain agencies should have better webpages so that citizens can find the information. Our web page is terrible. You can’t find our division unless you go to search sometimes and once you find it, its not like it will help. Seeing COMAR isn’t going to find you a licensed contractor, sampler, or give you general information.

  • The different divisions in certain agencies should have better webpages so that citizens can find the information. Our web page is terrible. You can’t find out division unless you go to search sometimes and once you find it, its not like it will help. Seeing COMAR isn’t going to find you a licensed contractor, sampler, or give you general information.

  • Dear Governor,

    A few suggestions for regulatory reform:

    1. Under StateStat establish (if not already done) a tracking mechanism that tracks all state agencies performance of issuing state required permits and licenses. Permit/application turn-around times.
    2. All existing regulations & fees should be reviewed (this should be done statewide) on rotating basis to determine if they need updated, if the fee needs increased/decreased, regs have achieved the intended result and are cost-effective or are obselete. Each state agency should have a written Plan for Regulatory Review and schedule. A process in place for ongoing reviews. A means for public participation in the review process. All of this should also be available to the public on-line.
    3. Ensure regulations are NOT more stringent than the federal requirement.
    4. Each state agency should develop customer service standards. There is no consistency from one agency to another when trying to get multiple permits from more than one agency. These standards should be available on line. Increase communications with local governments.
    5. If not already done, each state agency should pdf and make available on-line all their regulations.
    6. Any regulations that affect business development should have input from DBED.
    7. All state applications, permits, etc. should be available on-line for appyling and on-line payment processing should be available for new or renewal applications. Just like MVA has for Tag renewal. This will expedite permit processing.
    8. Use this same type of website to solicit feedback/ideas from the business community to streamline the process, what they feel are the challenges to working with state agencies, etc.
    9. Ensure regulations/laws are consistent with Statutory provision.

    Thank you for the opportunity to submit.

    Kathi Lipman

    • Wanted to add the following:
      Some ways to assist small business/businesses in Maryland during this tough economic time is to:
      1. Instead of annual registrations or inspections (where appropriate), go to biennial (every two years) and only continue to charge the current yearly registration fee. If fee is a problem for agencies dependent on the fee revenue, then try charging 1 1/2 fee. Plus this will lessen work load of state employees and lessen some financial burden on business. It will show that we also care about our businesses.
      2. Provide relief from penalties for small business that face first-time paperwork violations that result in no harm to health or environment.

  • Actually make state employees work. I see plenty of them standing outside smoking, standing around in their offices gabbing or surfing the net, and in general wandering around, while others shoulder the entire burden.

    Quit keeping contractual employees as contractual employees for YEARS!!!! OVER A DECADE!!!! GIVE THEM A PIN!!!! The PINS are also given out to favorites and arbitrarily with a justification that they are needed for blah reason. However, the reason is made up and it is because the administration likes the individual. Review the process of conversion.

    Review the evaluation process for employees and the methods used for redress for employee disagreements with their evaluations. Such complaints have been swept under the rug. Contractuals should not be fired at the drop of a hat, but adminstrators and managers are allowed to do it.

    Treat your contractual employees better. While permanent contractual employees get paid for the Service Recovery Days and a $750 check to make up for lost pay in previous years, contractuals GET NONE OF THAT MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNFAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Check to see if the equipment that agencies spend their money on is actually being used regularly.

  • I think the state should look into upgrading the pay for the Office Secretaries. I’ve been employed with the state going on my 7th year and the pay is ridiculous. We work very hard and are under paid. We are exposed to the inmates just as much as the CO’s do. Being a single mother, living pay check to pay check isn’t fun. Enjoy my job but look everyday for other options. You would think the State would look into this issue and get a solution. We look every day for another better paying job. IF we leave then they have to retrain others which is time comsuming and costly. I would rather pay someone more money who knows their job who excels and gets the job down instead of trying to retrain other employees.

  • Move half of the agency headquarters out of Baltimore into Prince George’s County like the The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development was moved out of Anne Arundel. Spread out through different metro stops would be great and would promote using public transportation.

  • State exams like the Environmental Sanitarian exam shouldn’t cost $125 for state employees especially if its required and its given by the agency that the employee works for. And if the cost can’t be changed how about a study guide that is actually helpful and effective towards passing a test that has 300 questions in broad categories when we don’t all work in so many fields.

    The test had questions from air, waste water, food protection, institutions, hazardous waste, water treatment, general environmental health, vectors, and pool protection. I don’t work for the health dept I don’t need to know or care about that many categories.

  • It is unconscionable of our state legislators to mandate that state employees be required to pay union dues. Only the lowest paid employees are required to pay these dues. Supervisors are exempt. UNFAIR!!! The $13.85 deducted biweekly from my paycheck could be used to feed my family. Like many state employees I live check to check. Those dues place an unfair burden on many of us. The $750.00 bonus would have been nice, lump sum, but spread over 26 paychecks, it doesn’t help much. I bring home less now than I did during the furloughs, what with the increase in our retirement deductions and union dues. It seems the state gives with one hand and takes away with the other. The legislation requiring union dues needs to be rescinded.

  • MBE Requirements

    The MBE law is very vauge and needs to be refined. When a prime contractor wins a bid he submitts his MBE package based on the items in the contract documents. Once extra work is added to the project he is still required to meet his goals for the extra work but if he already has contracts with other subcontractors to do that specific work he is being asked to break his contract with one subcontractor and give the work to an MBE.This could cause him to be sued for breach of contract or the prime contractor is asked to lower his percentage of work and give it to an MBE firm but if it causes him to drop below 50% that he is required under the law he is putting himself at risk. The MBE participation should be solely based on the original contract amount and this would stop a lot of road blocks that are causing major delays in getting work completed and the contractors paid. If we are getting more money into the hands of people quicker the faster it will be spent.

    Also all modals should follow the same rules it seems they all have there own interpretations of the law. I feel a complete review of the process is needed with input from all modals and contractors. This could clear up a lot of confusion.

  • You should be able to take the GED online.

  • How can you get subsized food stamps and etc. and be a state employee.

    • It’s probably contractual workers. Making 10-12 dollars isn’t really a lot to support yourself with, especially if you have to pay for your own health insurance.

    • A family of four in the military qualify because the pay is so low. More people are going into the military because they cannot afford to feed/shelter their families.

  • I agree about the essential personal with bad weather. If its too dangerous for children to go to school why is it safe enough for state employees to come to work risking their lives? If there is a “state of emergency” in effect EVERYONE should be off the roads.

  • The hassle of starting a business in Maryland is ridiculous. The bank people told me to go down to Preston St. to file to do business. That requires expediting fees. Otherwise, it can take 2 or more months to process the fling. It can’t be done online. I ended up faxing it as I didn’t have the time to go to Preston St & waste a day. But I felt forced to do the expediting fee because I was holding a customer check & couldn’t open a bank account.

    I filed in Indiana and didn’t have to pay additional fees. Indiana turned my filing around in 1 week.

  • As a state inspector it would be great if we had a badge of some sort instead of dinky state work ID’s. I wouldn’t mine a gun also, but at least a real badge so we could be taken more seriously in the enforcement we do.

  • As a former MDA employee there was a group of at least 4 employees who regularly made 10 hours of overtime everyweek by carpooling in a state vehicle from the MDA bldg in Annapolis to the field office in Cheltenham. I don’t know if its still going on but if we want to save money for the state a good option would be to stop it.

  • Disregard my previous message regarding the tolls.. I looked on MDTA’s website and it doesn’t look like my daily commuter rate will be increased at all between now and 2013. What a relief!

  • I am also disappointed that I have to pay union dues to a company who really hasn’t done anything for me, personnaly. I haven’t had a pay increase in several years, and forced to take off several furlough days. As a matter of fact, my paycheck has only decreased through the years. The governement has given us a $750 bonus this year (to be broken down into 24 pays), however, it will be used to pay for those union dues. Once the $750 has been paid up, my paycheck will decrease yet again….
    I am also disappointed that the union dues do not apply to higher level state employees, such as Executives, Administrators, Managers, Supervisors, etc… this isn’t fair to the middle or lower class. Employees who make more money should be the ones to pay those dues, not the lower paid – - OR make it equal for everyone. Its just not fair..

  • Why should people who drive over the bay bridge every day be subject to the doubling of the toll? I live in Stevensville and I don’t think its fair that my commuter fee will increase from $1 to $2. It doesn’t seem like a lot of money per trip, but it adds up to $240 annually. The government wants us to spend money, but its hard when we are forced to pay money for these increases. I am sure that other bay bridge commuters will agree with me, as well as commuters for other bridges and tunnels.

  • Solar power is new to the building departments; they’re learning how to permit these projects and get it right. Most, if not all, are doing this on trial and error. If a building department is going to permit solar, they need to be mandated to take classes on the installation and the laws attached to solar power and interconnect agreements. The lack of understanding results in either a permit or an installation that is faulty, or a permit process that argues and is completely unnecessary.
    The drive is on to go green by the general public and all trades people badly need the work. Our economy needs this bump. I feel that we are at war to get solar permits, and the building department, politicians and the general public should embrace this.

  • The Aviation Command of the State Police should be place in a seprate category for hiring. The Aviation command can not retain quilified people since we are getting paid at the low end of the industry average. Just as some jobs require a degree these technicians require to be FAA ceriticated. In the six years that I have been here I have seen a 100% turn over rate of technicians. The pay scale that we are grouped under does not a line with the type of work we provide. Another problem is that our HR department here is under staff and has taken close to a year for technicians to be hired. Meaning from the time to apply for a position to an interview date has taken up to close to a year. Most people applying usually accept employement else where not wanting to wait for the state to respone. As of right now we are short about 5 technicians.

  • Quit hiring contractors at twice the cost and half the work of state employees.

  • how about a “loop hole” regulation… anyone, company, or agency that exploits a loop hole in a regulation or law is fined 150% of the gains from exploiting the loop hole.

  • First – In order to have faster job creation why won’t you ceased with the hiring freeze exemption request and allow all State agencies to hire for all positions for the next ninety (90) days. Some agencies will require more than ninety (90) days but if you have an eligible list created already by DBM they can utilize the list immediately that’s when your Human Resources Office plays a key role. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with different Human Resources to see how many positions were filled within the ninety (90) days at their agencies and I would like to know why others were not that way it can be streamlined with a different process in order to hire in a timely fashion. Failure would be less than 50% of your vacancies not filled within the ninety (90) day grace period at State agencies with emphasis on all agencies that failure to fill all vacancies at all agencies would require a hiring freeze exemption request submission for all vacancies unfilled. You should not expect for the private sector to hire when the State of Maryland has a hiring freeze on. Laying off State workers does not help the economy it assists with crippling an already broken system.
    Second – The sequence of layoffs’ is governed by State Personnel and Pensions Article, 11-206 and 11-207, Annotated Code of Maryland. This should not be discarded and it should be utilized every time the State of Maryland has to do the abolishment of agency positions.
    This rule should be enforced and utilized by all State agencies. The Governor of the State of Maryland should not allow agencies to discard positions at the pleasure of because all State employees do not serve at the pleasure of therefore do not utilize this fashion when they have to abolish positions.
    Also COMAR allowed for fair treatment of layoffs and taking into consideration lay off points and right now this is non-existent and management is allowed to abolish employees positions without layoff and or seniority points taken into consideration re-install bumping rights to employees because as it stands today you do have management that utilize that power to get rid of employees they simply do not care for and this is not fair.

  • Please allow Parole & Probation Agents the option of carrying a concealed firearm in the field. We are required visit violent offender’s in their homes and put ourselves in danger. Many of the neighborhoods we are required to work in are inherantly dangerous as well. The bullet proof vest that is provided is an unrealistic measure given that agents are typically expected to work in the field alone. The vest may protect the agent from being shot once, but is alone and helpless when the shooter realizes his target is not dead. If the the state is concerned about our ability to handle a weapon safely then it can require employees who wish to carry to complete an appropriate training course with the State Troopers. The State should also designate a list of specific firearms and ammunition approved for this purpose and require the agent to present the firearm at the training for approval and registration. The State may then require agents who wish to carry to supply thier own firearm for this purpose so that the State need not be burdened with this cost. Employees who do not wish to carry a weapon should not be pressured to do so.

    • I agree. By definition some our caseloads our spelling out that we are supervising the most violent offenders. Then we are being told, home visits are mandatory and oh don’t forget to take your vest and mace. We supervise armed robbers, murderers, and people that high ranking active gang members. We have some offenders that have threatened us and judges that still release them to the streets. But we are suppose to abide by policy and complete home visits even if that means seeing them at night by ourselves. Where I am at there is not the help of law enforcement because they themselves are spread to thin. So at what price Governor does my life become worth less than your policy? We ask for protection and the only thing we receive in return is policy that does not protect us. The law enforcement community is not longer there to help us go on home visits, other agents have been threatened or hurt and there are those of us who supervise the violent offenders who would like to be able to protect ourselves. I agree that we should be given the opportunity. There are far too many things going on in the field that are being swept under the rug by supervisors and regional administrators.

  • Require all gas tax revenue to be used for transportation. Maryland’s transportation infrastructure has many deficiencies; along with many local struggling engineers, production plants and contractors eager to deliver solutions.

  • End “use it or lose it” budgeting. every branch and department needs money but to throw away millions of tax payer dollars because they didn’t use all the money in their budget is insane.

    • This is something that definately needs to be looked at. I see it all the time, at the end of the fiscal year money is spent on items that are not needed just to spend the allotted budget so it won’t be cut from next years budget. If you save money one year it should be rolled over into the next years budget as a surplus not taken away and the next budget cut by that amount. The agency is being punished for saving money and winds up wasting money instead. If after a few years there is a suplus each year then look at cutting the budget.

  • I think that MD should follow states like PA and DE (who obviously know what they are doing and have a lower crime rate) smaller caseloads for Probation and Parole officers and also immediate sanctions. people who violate the conditions of thier probation or parole order often go 3 to 6 months before the issue is dealt with. If the were given immediate sanctions they would better be able to comprehend what behaviors casued thier consequences.

  • Can we please not have the MVA be deemed “essential” during very bad weather? It is rather silly to tell the general public not to go out if they do not have to, and to close schools for safety reasons….and have the MVA required to be open so the kids who are not going to school due to bad weather can come for a learners permit!

    • I agree; MVA may be part of the Department of Transportation, but it does not make us immune to the dangers of travelling in inclement weather conditions; I do not feel that it is essential for customers to renew their tags or licenses during this type weather; During that time it is almost impossible to drive on the roads anyhow.

    • I agree about the essential personal with bad weather. If its too dangerous for children to go to school why is it safe enough for state employees to come to work risking their lives? If there is a “state of emergency” in effect EVERYONE should be off the roads.

  • Energy and Transportation should work together to facilitate the use of solar panels on light poles and lighted overhead signs. There are some solar panels being used to power small facilities. The solar panels would be active when the lights are off. This would help lower the cost of solar panels as production rates would increase and could help supplement the daytime power supply. This could be a good partnership between the utility companies and the state.

  • I understand Maryland plans to go to central issuance of driver licenses and ID cards, in which people renewing licenses or IDs will have their product mailed to them. This is a mistake and is totally unneeded for the following reasons:
    1. When a person pays money for a product, he or she should get that product over the counter and not be dependent on the US mail. Every week we see people who never received their license thanks to it getting lost in the mail. IDs and license are major forms of ID. Lets not emulate California and New York and hand people pieces of paper that will not serve as sufficient ID to get them on airplanes or into federal buildings.

    2. Some people try to justify central issuance on the grounds of national security. But national security breaches do NOT occur when the license is being handed over the counter. They occur earlier, when foriegn nationals are having their documents examined on entry into the country. All central issuance will accomplish is anopther pointless inconvenience on US citizens and people who are already resident aliens.

    To conclude, there is no valid reason to go to central issuance for new or renewed IDs and licenses for American citizens. If we MUST go to such a system, let it be restricted to newly arrived aliens, where the potential security risks lie. But best is to let people pay their fee and leave the building with their product.

  • Smart Phones and Email

    More and more people have their own personal smart phones (iPhone, android, blackberry) and are willing to use their personal phone for email purposes as this makes life easier on them. The state email servers already utilize exchange software that would allow the smart phones to connect with the email but state policies dictate that these services not be allowed. All the state has to do is turn on the services and many people will be able to work much more efficiently. But instead of doing things the cost effective way the state dictates that for people to recieve email on a moble device they have to get a state issued blackberry. Why?? This just makes things more expensive for the state and decreases the effiency of the staff.

  • The Forest Conservation Act (Natural Resources Article, § 5-1601–5-1612, Annotated Code of Maryland) needs to be revised to exempt environmentally beneficial mitigiation and stewardship projects, such as wetland creation and stream restoration. These projects already have a planting component to them that supports the environmental goals of the project.

    Mitigation and stewardship projects on public lands should not need conservation easements as the public land is already under the review requirements in FCA.

  • In-house consultants verse permanent employees
    The state continuously tries to show a reduction in expenditure by reducing the number of positions. However, the duties that were performed by these positions still need to get done. Either these extra duties fall on other workers (with no extra pay or job experience credit) or in-house consultants are brought in to augment the staff.
    Neither of these policies makes any sense to me as the only way we show appreciation for doing a good job is by getting more work piled on us or we bring in an outside consultant that costs us more money. If the consultant was only here for a month or two I would understand this but the consultants are here for multiple years. These positions are clearly warranted but path to create them as permanent positions is cumbersome and ineffective.

  • The State currently gives special concideration to Minority and Disadvantaged Businesses. How about adding Veteran Owned Business to the list?

    • Thanks for your comment. I completely agree. In 2010, we passed the Veteran Business Enterprise Participation Bill which aims to help Veteran-Owned businesses. Here’s more on our commitment to our Veterans: http://www.gov.state.md.us/documents/VeteransOne-Pager110325b.pdf

  • It is unconscionable that a person cannot be MD Guard Certified or be certified to have a MD Handgun Permit unless they are attached to a Security Company. That means if he is certified, but unemployed, he cannot work as a security guard in the state of Maryland. Virginia has long since allowed security guards to work as long as they are licensed for what ever company they want to.

  • Annotated Code #7-210 needs careful review, and revision.

    (1) It must include other reasons besides “unconstitutional and illegal”, such as violation of any Federal Law hiring guidelines.

    (2) If the employee’s grievance is against the Appointing Authority itself, the Grievance procedure should be allowed to move above and beyond the Appointing Authority (ie to OAE).

    (3) The Appointing Authority’s decision should NOT be final. Employees should be allowed to appeal beyond the Appointing Authority, if their Grievance is against the Appointing Authority. Many valid complaints against Appointing Authority have not been heard in OAE because of this flawed law.

    Please make it a fair law for both parties, and make it retroactive. Thanks!

  • Fine Matrix for Inmate Bad Behavior:

    In these times of tough economic down turns. I feel that the violent and bad behavior that puts our correctional staff in harm’s way should be dealt with by monetarily fining those inmates who continue to possess contraband, use and sell drugs, make weapons, assault staff and fellow inmates. These acts of disruptive behavior should not only be dealt with by taking good days, and securing them behind a door for many hours a day, but also they should be fined a monetary amount for each offense.
    These fines that are collected could be used for additional security equipment and funding specialized teams that are involved in searching for this contraband.
    I do not know of all of the logistics of how a plan like this would be put into place and what it would cost initially but I certainly do think the state may benefit in two ways, one maybe a reduction of contraband and violence and at the same time collect some funding to support the efforts of dedicated correctional staff.

  • Qiut hiring more assistants for the commissioner,etc.etc…….

  • Regulations are sometimes beyond cumbersome, especially when they are duplicative or nonsensical.

    That said, there are some regulations on the books that the state chooses not to enforce, and those regs are associated with state historic preservation laws (not Federal laws). Despite the long-time existence of a MD law to have the state show leadership in the preservation, commemoration, and development (including economic development) of our historic buildings, sites, and landscapes, the state in so many cases turns a blind eye and significant properties are being lost — places that are important records of our history, their presence in the landscape encouraging awareness of the state’s really fascinating history.

    This lack of enforcement — it’s shocking really — is related to what, in my eyes, appears as a slow but steady dismantling of state-owned historic sites through years of budget shrinking. Both the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum and Historic St. Mary’s City — state museums — are responsible for the stewardship of our state’s archaeological patrimony. Yet, their budgets have been slashed to the point that it is really to the institutions’ credit that significant losses have not occurred. Similarly, the MD Historical Trust has suffered cuts that have paralyzed the agency.

    Gov. O’Malley, many counted on you to not just talk the talk when you beat former Gov. Ehrlich, but to walk the walk in preserving our cultural heritage. There is definitely a cost — perhaps the right word is investment — but there are also tangible and intangible returns when the state’s heritage is preserved, reused, experienced, and enjoyed by the present — and the thousands of “presents” coming. At least in the field of historic preservation here in MD, the question is not how to streamline it but how to follow laws and regulations already on the books in creative, thoughtful, and economically viable ways.

    Thank you for asking our thoughts and please look into the lack of enforcement of state laws concerning our heritage.

  • Green Jobs and the Septic Industry

    Give tax credits and incentives for property owners with existing septic systems that want or need to repair them after they demonstrate they have installed more advanced and environmentally friendly onsite technology including the treatment tanks AND a more advanced drainfield system. The BRF fund already covers some grants for this (and has stimulated some jobs), but does nothing to pay for drainfield enhancements and upgrades. Also some tax incentives for property owners to properly maintain their septic systems would go a long way to improving the public health, local water quality and the Chesapeake Bay..Im not sure if this can be done through updating COMAR 26.04.02 or through a new law.

    This would create jobs for the private sector and bolster the public sector’s confidence in improving water quality and public health efforts. Private sector jobs that would benefit would be: Local design consultants and engineers that design these systems, Soil Scientists, manufacturers and local technology distributors, local septic contractors that install and maintain these systems, Once the homeowners are educated about this incentive, more jobs would start to be created in these sectors.

    I think an idea like this would be supported by both political parties and your current task force due to report soon.

    Thank you Governor for this opportunity.

  • Stop wasting money on hugely expensive projects. Why is the state spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a statewide radio system (that we don’t need!) when the majority of the Maryland State Police fleet is falling apart? Some state vehicles can function with 300k miles, but our Troopers need safe patrol vehicles if we expect them to drive 130+ mph in the performance of their duties!
    The computer equipment in the MSP is also antiquated and needed replacing 5 years ago. Also, why do local governments get a cut of casino revenue, but the State Police Barrack that actually handles calls for service there gets nothing?
    Overhaul the bid process. Requiring the government to use minority-owned businesses first is racist. The lowest bid should win, without regard to what race the owner is!
    I understand tough financial times, but why not give other benefits to Maryland employees if you can’t give them the annual pay increases they are owed?
    Maryland National Guard soldiers get free tuition at Maryland Colleges. Why don’t Maryland law enforcement officers receive the same benefit? Both are called to protect Marylanders in times of crisis and often work side-by-side in natural disasters!

  • Thank you so much for letting your stating employees voices be heard. Meaning because of all the PINs being abolish how can someone grow when there is no where to start. If you are trying to offer more job opportunties then you should at least give Maryland Department of Transportation some pins back especially in the Human Resources division. Because you will need alot of manpower to accomdate. Also can you bring the student summers jobs back for the teenagers for the new fiscal year. I really think you should think about your state workers or at least visit some of the agencies especially MVA and talk to the staff in the HR offices and just listen to the concerns we have. I just hope when you find a way to help those that are unemployed please think about the ones there are employed and trying grown.

    Thank you

  • Thank you Governor O’Mallery for the opportunity to he heard. Let’s talk about Maryland State Stat. It is not enough to have a performance measurement management tool implemented, if it is not being used by all State agencies. There should be a more dedicated effort to create diversity in the workplace, as well as fair and equitable opportunities for all. The State of Maryland has some of the brightest, highly qualified, and dedicated employees who want to simply work. Let’s make sure through Maryland State Stat, that administrators, and managers are committed to providing opportunities, through the hiring process, as well as through promotions.

  • I feel with the shortages in jobs and the need to cut expenses that a new retirement program for MD State government employees should be considered in respect to lowering salaries and possibly opening doors for incoming generations. For instance, employees who have reached or exceeded their 30 years, why not start putting a 30-year employment cap and make retirement mandatory regardless of age with full benefits. And, for employees with 25 or more years offer them an incentive that would take them to having a total of 30 years, allowing them to retire with full benefits regardless of age. You can then offer the job to the retiree on a contractual basis, lower salary, no benefits; if not accepted, seek to hire a new person as a FTE at a lower grade and salary scale, and giving them benefits they need in life.

  • Oh, and how about all the regulatory requirements heaped upon us while we continue to get posititons abolished.

    • We dont need your sarcasm

  • The Department of Correction struggles to buy and or replace vehicles. We waste money trying to maintain vehicles that are falling apart. Our Prisons have perimeters that need to be patrolled with four wheel drive vehicles. Unfortunately our budgets won’t allow it. We also heve many occassions when we need sedans to travel to trainings and meetings. Sedans are also limited and some are very old Chevy compacts. The Maryland State Police have four wheel drive vehicles and unmarked sedans that they auction off to the public. Most are in very good condition. Minor repairs and regular maintenance is provided at each of our facilities. I think we could save money and enhance our DOC fleet by allowing the The Department of Correction to aquire vehicles from MSP via property transfer. The same can be said for The State Highway Administration. We often have troble clearing our Prison roadways in snowy conditions. A snow plow is extremly difficult to purchase. State Highway also auctions off it’s small snow plow dump trucks. DOC could benefit from the use of these vevicles and save the state a little money.

    • For the public as well as inter-state agency movement of items there is a website called Govdeals.com. It’s kind of like ebay, but for state items; i.e. anything with a barcode. This is where I have to surplus any of my old and worn out equipment to. I like your idea of posting vehicles on it. My division is short on money for large expenditures like vehicles also. Besides justifying the purchase of a vehicles is quiet the autocratic mess. I also am not a fan of frivolous spending so I think enlarging the Govdeals page to include more items, like snow plows and 4×4 capable vehicles could definitely make our lives a bit better when it comes to meeting our budget requirements.

  • Would like to see the Healthy Workplace Bill passed in Maryland. Bullying is rife in state government, and I see managers constantly getting away with it. Speaking up about it only makes things worse…been there, done that…

    http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/states/md/maryland.php

    (Am reluctant to use my real name, as I’ll get “bullied” for putting this one out here…)

  • Allow the sponsoring of green card visas again as a lot of good talent is going back to their countries and is then competing against us.

  • . In these trying times and accompanied by the need to become more fiscally responsible, I believe we have done an injustice to the tax payers of Maryland. An injustice associated with the wasteful spending of tax dollars due to the requirements of the procurement process for state agencies.

    The Division of Correction is required to purchase through the Small Business Reserve Program and/or Grainger Corporation. This is more expensive and time consuming for procurement. It also permits Maryland Dollars to leave Maryland and go to any other state in the union.

    Generally, what occurs is if the vendor does not have the item for sale, we have to give them the opportunity to obtain the item, mark it up anywhere from 25% to 100% or more, and sell it back to the state. Many times going to the vendor we use to purchase from directly; buying and increasing the cost of the item and selling it back to the state.

    The entire procurement process results in state agencies receiving fewer goods, while paying much more. This is light of the current fiscal situation does not seem to be fiscally responsible nor is it in the best interest of the Maryland Taxpayers.

  • Offer GED online in Maryland!

    • Provide more support to dwindling technical industries and the high school dropout rate by providing more widespread opportunities for high school students to enroll in technical programs. Other states have many more options for vocational-technical high schools, but Maryland, not so much.

  • Please compare the cost of contractors vs doing things in house. Contracting cost rises every year. Sometime the cost of the contractors will exceed the cost of state employees doing that same job.

  • Since the economy has been doing so poorly, I have noticed our staff at Parole and Probation getting smaller and smaller. However, our agency seems to have no problem increasing our workload. Recently an new standard came out requiring more reporting for offenders. We have begun using the KIOSK system, which is supposed to reduce our workload, however, the state is just using it as an excuse to increase contact standards. The fact is, and I think my fellow agents will agree, that making offender’s come to the office more often does not help us do our job. It does make it more difficult for offenders to maintain employment and avoid violating their probation. There is such a thing as too much supervision and we need the freedom to focus on those offenders who really do need more attention. We need to take into consideration the limits of our manpower and focus on priorities. It seems to me, that these standards have been increased because it makes somebody above me look good on paper, but the practical application is unrealistic. The various spreadsheets we are required to fill-out for those intent on micro-management and Case-Plans are also a burdon on our time which is redundant and useless. Let the Probation/Parole Order drive the supervision strategy and let my immediate supervisor oversee my work and we will all have time to get more done. It also concerns me that our contact standards change so frequently. This is confusing for agents and offenders alike. We do not need more confusion.

    • No one has done more and been treated worse by O’Malley than the agents at Parole and Probation. O’Malley can find plenty of time to appear on national television shows but is too busy to sit down for a discussion with the agents.

      O’Malley purchased KIOSK machines for DPP but his bureaucrats still have not written a coherent evidence based policy. If O’Malley doesn’t know what to do with the KIOSK machines they should be returned and the money used to hire more agents.

      Also, there is plenty of money to spend on bullet proof vests, but O’Malley can’t explain why agents don’t have guns to return the fire.

      O’Malley have ignored the agents of DPP and public safety is jeopardized.

  • Don’t ban rural subdivisions on septic systems and discontinue all State efforts regarding same without delay. Housing and all who support it is key to economic recovery. Your so-called environmental programs will kill it. Houses will not sell close into cities because people do not want to live there because of crime, drugs, urban decay and threats to the quality of life & education of their kids. Until you fix those societal and cultural problems, if they can be fixed, banning rural development just further harms the already beleaguered residential construction industry and the many workers who support it. So stop. Please. Now.

  • Two things:
    State Personnel and Pensions Statute:
    1. Change the amount of qualified candidates required to allow the use of a register. Currently it is 9. In MDOT it is 25. Change the SPMS to match MDOT. One state one standard. This will also assist in shortening recruitment times.
    2. Hiring freeze process: I understand the need and the purpose with budgeted turnover and all of that. But seriously, positions should be approved during budget season. If someone is replacing a person, and there is NO change to the position, remove the requirement for an HFE. If the position is being downgraded, remove the HFE requirement. Make it as long as the hiring is revenue neutral, no HFE is required. Then enforce the salary guidelines in a more strict manner to ensure that starting salaries are not through the roof.

    • an add-on…..perhaps instead of a mandatory hiring freeze, how about a mandatory hiring hold. Say 2 or 3 months. A posiiton becomes vacant it is not allowed to be filled for 2 – 3 months. This will create the budget turnover savings, but at the same time allow the Agency to recruit. If that is not enough, state no recruitment activities can take place until the end of the three months.

      Another issue based on salary. Why do we reward initial non state workers more than internal promotion. I can only promote within the 6& and 12% limits. but at the same time I can hire off the street at step 9 in most cases (with exception approval from agency). More with exception approval from DBM.

  • It may not be a direct regulation or law but is an issue that I have dealt with and have found it to be something people want to make their day to day more efficient. Please make it easier for state personnel to get new technology items that can make them more efficient. Items like tablets and smart phones should be utilized by state staff if it allows them to get their job done quicker, especially for field staff. There also needs to be less restrictions on what new technology can be used, not to be locked into a certain company and be forced to make their products work when there are other viable options out there that willl do the job better, for much cheaper, and have less issues. Also upgrading in office technology needs to happen at a quicker pace. Having a version of Windows on work computers that is about to be three iterations old within the next 6 months is something that needs to be addressed especailly since the outdated software can cause compatability issues when the rest of the professional world uses newer technology.

  • My question concerns the allowance of compulsory union membership in the state. I feel that it is unfair to require anyone to become a member of a union for a public position. I also object to the compliance by the state with forcible withdrawing union dues from the pay of even non Union members, I feel that this is unethical to mandate union membership for any state position accept were a union is necessary.

  • Job opportunities outside the Annapolis & Baltimore area. There are many well-qualified/over-qualified candidates outside driving distance to the state offices. There should be telework centers located in the three regions such as Western, Southern, and Eastern Shore of Maryland. Every agency does not need the physical presence of a productive employee at the state offices. The federal government has such locations throughout the region. I do not know the exact policies but looking from the outside, I see positions being filled utilizing these work centers without all employees driving great distance in miles or congested traffic to have a physical presence to be deemed productive. Talk about a stimulus to the local economies! Marylanders have taken jobs outside the metro regions; become a viable and productive member of their community to lose their job to the bad economy from local businesses. Now you have a homeowner who pay taxes who can no longer afford his home and is forced into foreclosure or who moves out of the state to take a new job. We have vacant homes which are abandoned or for sale for extended periods of time then there is lost in tax revenue in the local government which leads to local government making drastic cuts backs because revenue is down. I could go on and on about small/rural communities in the three regions. GOVERNOR O’MALLEY – TELEWORK CENTERS will LEAD to $$$ back to the local and state economies.

    • It would be nice to have a satellite office in Southern Maryland for MDE workers whose offices may be in Baltimore. I’d be more than to happy to drive to Baltimore once a week if I could go to a closer office each morning and get more inspections in during the day the rest of the week.

  • Mr. O’Malley,
    I am a seven year employee of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. I spent those seven years in the Division of Corrections. I have now accepted a position in the Department of Parole and Probation in order to further enhance my career and future goals. Upon accepting the position, I have since learned that my seven years and my vested retirement fund are in jeopardy. I am being told that I can not bring that time with me because I am in the new State Retirement and Pension Fund. I am considered a new hire since I took a new position. This has caused me great concern as you can imagine. I met with a retirement counselor on 10/21/2011 and was told that there are no laws in effect to cover a position transfer from one department to another. I am being informed that the only new law in the new system. I would like to see my time and retirement to be unaffected. This could be an enormous issue for any other employees wanted to move up or down in the Department. Please address this with your employs who have detected their lives and time to your Public Safety. Thank you very much.

    • Were you going from one retirement plan such as the Correctional Officer’s “Retirement” Plan into the Employee’s “Pension” Plan? This shouldn’t have affected you if you were already in the Employee’s Contributory Pension Plan and just changing jobs. At least that was my understanding.

  • DESK AUDIT

    Correctional Officers placed in special job assignments (LT., SGT, or CO) are not receiving the correct pay. An officer who has special training in firearms, training instructor, training coordinator, armory, etc., should receive adjustments to pay as they have more responsiblity as the counter-part, and are doing a different job than what they were hired to do. Lieutenants, work just as much over-time as the officers, and do work such as payroll & timesheets and do not receive the proper pay according the specs of what they were hired to do.

    The correctional facilities need a DESK AUDIT from DBM because special training and doing additional duties deserve compensation.

  • Hello,

    1. I propose more teamwork between the different agencies within the State of Maryland. There should be a linked system between dpscs, dhr, dllr, mdot, etc. Once a person is release from jail (DPSCS), their should be a link for mva for ID purpose. Women and men of public assistance (DHR) should have link with dllr for job assistance. Once an electronic is customized a team of decision makers, technical experts, support services, and process coordinator should be assembled to maintain all information and ensure each unit is effectively doing their job.

    2. State Employees should used for their expertise. There are many individuals with special talents, and degrees who are not in the field because they could not get hired or selected for that job. Once an employee of any state agencies, there should be a list created for anyone who graduates or have special skills to help create better quality state service. Current state employees should have the option to apply and be considered for any job before any outside person who applies. If all applications were electronic, DHR could disburse applications according to professional skills and degree to appropriate agencies (with consent).

    I am willing to help with the movement! Thanks for listening.

  • I would like to comment on a couple of issues. First the regulation for State Vehicles. Why would you have to wait so long to replace some of these vehicles that are basically falling apart and using so much gasoline. Many are so unsafe we are taking our life in our own hands when we drive them. With the focus on saving money and energy its time to start investing in some vehicles that are not a safety hazard. Please look into this .Also even though there was a buyout for employees the last go around there are still many people waiting for another buyout and they are in the older retirement system why not offer another?

    • The MD State Police has many vehicles with over 200k miles! This is a HUGE safety concern!

  • Procurement Regulations:
    Purchasing regulations should be changed to permit operating agencies to go off contract where they can establish that the same item can be purchased from an alternate supplier at a cheaper cost. For example if an item is not under a purchasing contract we have to order it through the Small Business requirements. An order for three (3) rolling cases to transport files was purchased through a small business for $125.64. When this occurs we have to pay the shipping costs. The shipping costs were $48.10, one-third the cost of the item whereas we could have bought it locally without the shipping. Generally, what occurs is if the vendor does not have the item for sale, we have to give them the opportunity to obtain the item, it is marked up anywhere from 25% to 100% or more, and sold back to the state. Moreover, these Small Businesses are often as not a “middle man” procurer of products from larger suppliers.

    The same can be said of plant maintenance items. DGS awarded a purchasing contract to Grainger Company. Grainger supplies about anything you want in the way of plant maintenance. Their costs are substantially higher than the same products purchased locally. Moreover, monies go outside of Maryland and not to local supply houses.

    Procurement process review:
    Furthermore represents another layer in government as a control agency whose work in theory save money. Whether it does or not is questionable for many contracts but what it does do is add another layer to the process which in many cases slows the ability of a line operating agency to respond to its needs. A classic example in the procurement process is the proposal to contract for commissary services. This proposal has been in process for at least seven (7) years and we still do not have a contract.

    The Division’s medical contract was bid, an objection was submitted, the process stopped causing the “wheel to be reinvented” and we still do not have a new contract. There is something inherently wrong with a process that results in this kind of time and it is costly. The entire process needs to be critically examined and reviewed by an external entity who is objective and does not have a stake in self protection.

    Sick Leave policies:
    The use of sick leave in the state is a big personnel cost. In the DOC the uniformed staff use essentially every day of sick leave they accrue as so much additional time off. The policies as currently written prohibit the ability to control it. For example, it is not unusual to review an individual sick leave record that shows sick leave immediately before and/or after regular days off particularly when a holiday is involved. Yet management cannot discipline a person where there is a clearly established pattern.

    COBR (Correctional Officers Bill of Rights): Needs modified. While I agree it was/is a good idea it is far too cumbersome and actually contributes to overtime expense.

    Here is an actual example:
    it was our intention to do the solicitation from this office in anticipation that the bids would be received within our delegation to make an award. Unfortunately, this did not occur; therefore, we are required to have solicitation processed by DGS. In view of the fact that solicitation is expected to exceed 25k COMAR requires the solicitation to be advertised a minimum of 21 days.

    This solicitation is currently at DGS and is scheduled to be reviewed by the DGS PRG on Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Once DGS PRG approves the solicitation it may be advertise on e-MM.

  • I have worked for the State for 6 years now. I have experianced the cuts, furlough days, and many other things that has come accross since I have been working here. I have alot of issues, and I will start now. I was wondering how can the “UNION” offer $750.00 pay raise for all State employee’s and find a slick way to basically take that amount from us another way. I find it crazy that the “UNION” came to visit my building and they lied to us with no problem. It was almost like I was dealing with a bunch of poloticians. It’s hard enough that we are not getting the pay that every other government agency get. Maybe I am just frustrated.

    • It’s funny that we are state employees yet, but when bonuses are stated to be given out to state employees we then aren’t.

    • I agree

    • I AGREE. I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY JOB. I”M ALSO CONCERNED THAT WE STATE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN FURLOUGHED FOR 3 YEARS . THE COST OF LIVING HAS INCREASE. MY BG&E BILL IS OUT OF CONTROL. I AM CLOSE TO LIVING IN POVERTY. ITS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT ONCE INMATES ARE RELEASE THEY MAY APPLY FOR FOOD STAMPS. DURING THIS FURLOUGH PERIOD I THINK STATE EMPLOYEES SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHT. NEXT COMMENT- ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL-I AM CURIOUS AS HOW MVA EMPLOYEES ARE ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL . WE ARE NOT LAW ENFORCEMENT. IF THE GOVERNOR SUGGESTS THAT EVERYONE SHOULD STAY OFF THE ROADS , I THINK THAT SHOULD INCLUDE MVA EMPLOYEES AS WELL.

  • *A message to the Governor on UNFAIR HIRING PRACTICES *

    If these comments were to be read and sincerely considered I think it a great way of communicating different Ideas. With that, let me dive directly into the issue of the State’s hiring practices. I do not know for sure how other agencies carry out the same hiring processes but my agency (to be unnamed) has some serious loop holes in the way it runs the hiring of new employee’s and interagency promotions. Let me summarize my comments in two bullet points as follows.

    1. Interview Process
    The interviewing process needs some serious restructuring. Currently, it appears that if a candidate can give “the right” answers or can mention few keywords related to each question he/she is asked, regardless of the relevant job knowledge he/she has will end up getting the job. (At least that’s how the system is supposed to operate). I think there should be additional screening methods to select the properly qualified candidates. Not all qualified candidates are eloquent and can impress a panel of interviewers with their speech.

    On the issue of panel interviewing, currently interviews are set up by panel members. Although I understand this is in place as a check-and-balance to reduce fraudulent interview practices, at most instances the hiring manager has the final say as to who he wants. In other words, the ratings given by other panel members to a particular candidate will only matter if they are carried out anonymously and in secret. One panel members rating towards a candidate should have as equal weight as the hiring managers.

    2. Selection of Candidates
    I have heard and witnessed numerous instances where a candidate is informally pre-selected prior to a formal interview whether due to blunt favoritism, acquaintance or other benefits between the selected individual and the hiring manager. This seems to be common during when the positions to be filled are promotional (only already state employees can interview).

    On the flip side, I have witnessed this type of favoritism on a position advertised for all. In this terrible experience, a previously working consultant was given the position; in fact this particular consultant was being groomed and helped by his supervisor for the position he was interviewing, including doing a mock interview with his supervisor on weekends weeks prior to the formal interview. This is by far outrageous, not all people are brave enough to stand up and bring out this type of fraud to light, possibly due to fear of serious retaliation and intimidation from the hiring manager. At times, I have felt as if the whole division/organization is filled by people who have some kind of close ties outside work. I am not saying employees should not socialize outside work but those relationships should not influence or bias hiring decisions. If the state set some serious guidelines spelling out the consequences that would follow if a person is involved in these types of shameful, unfair hiring practice it might help mitigate future unfair practices. I believe this is an important ethics and government transparency issue and should be taken very seriously!

    In closing, I understand the current system of hiring process is setup with an assumption of most people will act fairly and with good intentions but that is no longer valid and is obsolete. I am witnessing all kinds of unfair practices in this area and the system needs to be revisited to assure the trust we once have in our system. Not only that serious consequence on violators should to be set, the state has an obligation to effectively communicate the consequences to all state employees both in hiring positions as well as candidates. I know for a fact our office has a dire need for this type of overhaul.
    Thank you.

    • I’m not sure what agency you work for (it might be the same one), but the some of the same things are happening here at my place of work as well. In fact a position was just filed using similar practices.

  • 1st we must identify the problem and understand it, then solution will follow.
    America was winning because it was really a united states, meaning multiple states that each was different from the others in all respects. For example if you were driving and you happened to miss the welcome sign, still you could tell you have entered to a different land. But now America is like one state for example Wall Mart is every where.
    Being like one state made it easy for enemies to break it. All they needed to do was to buy out a few people on the Federal side and go thru all the other 52 states.
    1st done, now 2nd is the solution: The Governor of each state must start restoring those differences and keep them and may be add more to it. Sounds like long term but it will drive the enemies out of United States of America weather or not they are now here physically or logically.

  • Something needs to be done with the low bid process. I am an Automotive Supervisor. Yes we may get vehicles at the lowest price, but they end up costing more for repairs and are not dependable. I don’t feel that our current fleet of trucks will last the 10 years we are required to keep them. They are junk. We have constant electrical problems with them and they are not dependable. It is not what we need with a truck that is needed to keep the highways plowed. We have one truck that has cost the state $50,000.00 in repairs in 5 yrs. That is a cost per mile average of $5.00 per mile. We need to understand that low bid is not always the best way to go. If another make of truck cost $20,000.00 more but only incurs $15,000.00 in repairs in the same time frame, it’s obvious we are not saving any money by going low bid.

  • State of Maryland should seriously consider bringing back 55 minute paid lunch break for those who are interested in 30 minute walk exercise. This will improve the health of the state employess, as well as the morale.
    Flex start time also reduces stress in the work environment, and the Governor should make it possible for all nonessential employees, and offer limited flex time for essential staff also. This way, it relieves the supervisors from constantly monitoring our arrival time! They could be doing something else more productive, such as monitoring our programs!!

  • As a 13 year employee of the MD Division of Parole and Probation I continue to be appalled at how our agency is operated. We tend to be very proactive with our offenders, their success, their safety and well being. However, we tend to be very reactive to our employee’s safety, even non active. Within the past 2 weeks we have had 2 shootings right outside of our office yet we have no security for our building. 100% of our clientele are criminals and have the potential to be dangerous. We are provided no means to protect ourselves while other surrounding states carry firearms and have the ability to arrest. The days of Agents acting in the fake capacity of a social worker are over, our professionals need to be able to be responsible for their own safety and returning home to families each and every day. When did our offender’s safety take precedent over the good people who put their lives on the line everyday for public safety. We go into neighborhoods and homes that police know to approach with caution, however we dont have intel, we dont have solid plans of action, we dont have communication with police. No one knows when we have arrived at a home and left a home. We are not even provided state cellular devices. As an employee I am left bewildered that no body in the Governor’s office has taken a proactive stance for us, we have larger workloads, more responsiblity then ever, morale is at an all time low and incomes have steadily decreased. Managment is out of touch, un trained and disengaged, while the field Agents are thrown to the wolves.
    Agents, supervisors etc have held positions well over 30 yrs, they stay on retired on duty and it effects all of us. Basically showing up for work and not much else. If the state wants to save money that could be better allocated for proper training and safety then force them to retire. They collect the highest salaries and sometimes do the least. Impose over course of several years so that it isnt a huge impact all at one time (this was broached with our former director Judith Sachwald but she refused to entertain it). The fact remains the job has changed, offenders have changed, communities have changed and technology has changed, it is time for fresh minds who are eager to face the challenges instead of the retired on the job attitude that smothers our agency.
    In summary, give us the means to do our jobs approprately and safely, starting with forcing the able to retires to actually do so, use the money spent to re train and properly train incoming employees and provide us the ability afforded to other states to arrest and defend. I see it as a win win for the Agency, the offender and the community. It creates a much greater image of respect then an Agent well past age of retirement showing up in a ran down broken up state car without any type of support or safety. Instead we can arrive in a properly suited identifiable vehicle with communication abilities, armed, and with the ability to do our jobs instead of the baby sitting pencil pushers we have been allowed to become.

  • Consolidate agencies as much as possible. With police agencies alone there are 7 or 8 separate state agencies that each have a separate human resource, payroll, media relations, supplies, vehicle maintenance, training, and upper management. All with little inter-agency communication or information sharing.

    • AGREED!!!
      We are wasting tons of money by having so many different state agencies. Combine them all under the MSP and eliminate all the overhead and waste!

    • I agree. Another example is SHA and MdTA. There has got to be a significant amount of redundant aspects in these two organizations. Look at the design offices and the IT departments. I think you’ll see that they function very similarly.

  • Thanks for all of these great comments and for taking an interest in our state government. Our team is reviewing them and we’ll be putting together a package of reforms to bring to the General Assembly in January. Please share this site with family and friends. Thanks again.

  • Require the MD COMPTROLLER to immediately remove all negative credit reporting for taxpayers who have paid and satisfied outstanding state income tax liens. Presently, the Director for MARYLAND’a COMPLIANCE DIVISION and her section manager in ANNAPOLIS, are increasingly adamant about not removing, following written requests from the taxpayer, any and all furnished information which the STATE does furnish to the credit reporting agencies regarding state tax liens EVEN AFTER the lien(s) have been satisfied and the order for satisfaction has been recorded. The Annapolis section manager is specifically adamant and nasty about these requests and insists that none will be removed.

    The very clear perspective given by and with this kind of rogue administration of government is that the Director, her Annapolis section manager, and the COMPTROLLER all intend to continue to punish MARYLAND taxpayer’s for having had a lien in the first place and want the entire world to continue to know that that taxpayer DID have a lien BUT has satisfied same. Its rogue government at its best and is a clear indication that Maryland, from the top down, continues to punish its lawful and legal citizenry while rewarding the unlawful and illegal.

  • I feel that the state could save alot of money by not allowing a Correctional Officer to take a Correctional Supply Officer position before another CSO who may want that position gets it. The CO makes more money than a CSO and when they take a “step down” they do not lose that much money; I think it is 6%. They make more than the CSO from the start who has been a supply officer longer. So, hiring or transferring a CSO would make more sense. There have been cases where a person in the Academy who was hired as a Correctional Officer and was in the middle of training, was offered a Correctional Supply Officer position, and took it, but still received Correctional Officer pay. This person did not work one day as a CO.
    Also, you need to look at the Contracts that we need to order from for supplies, food etc. They seem to charge an amount greater than what could be purchased locally. Usually a contract is given to the bidder with the lowest bid, not whatever they feel like charging.

  • Process Reviewed: State Employment Examinations & Eligibility Lists – Save Money, Reduce Waste for State

    1. All state job applications (MS100) have a space for email: use email to notify applicants with a pdf of eligibility and examination ratings. Stop mail, even duplicate mail to prospective applicants (state employees/non-state employees -”all”)

    2. Only mail out letters to persons who do not have an email address.

    3. Stop all paper mail-outs/duplicates of ‘eligibility” of examinations and eligibility list for the same job classifications: for instance, if you applied for the Administrative/Clerical examinations, each state agency may send you a “best qualified” letter, etc. One day, I received more than 4 letters all postal stamped. How much paper and postage costs would be saved by moving the “notification system” to an electronic system?

    4. Private companies now “require” online application. Make the MS100 an “electronic submission”. Why not? Once you receive the MS100s, each agency is either scanning them into an electronic database server or application for review (more work/cost of a few PINs, etc). Electronic system would be available to all state agencies recruting for that job classification. The application would last up to 2 year (most private companies only keep for 1 year on file). The cost of records management or retention is an expense that the State can reduce as an avoidance to waste of state funds. I believe mechanisms are already in place and can be utilized: (i.e. if all the fingerpints are scanned in an electronic at the Central Repository that is used by the Feds, and other states, why not the job application system for MD jobs?).

  • The balanced budget does not make sense in all applications. For example I have a project that would increase and create residual income for the State. However it would require a mass mail out to contact people who are in violation of the State laws and ask them to comply and pay their applicable fees. The problem is the project cannot be implemented until next fiscal year when the cost of this extra postage can be implemented into the “balanced budget”. There should be provisions if there is a way to increase or collect revenue we should be able to fund the projects without waiting till the next fiscal year.

  • For three years state salaries were decreased while basic costs of living such as gasoline, food and utilites have sharply risen. Institution a four day work week for employees in state office buildings and close the buildings for the other three days. Benefit: lower utility cost (part of these saving could be used for a COLA increase) plus there would be a 20% cut in commute cost to the employee.

  • It is predicted that within the next 10 years or so, there will be a steady outflow of babyboomers into retirement. Some of whom will seek to live in other states throughout the country, Delaware, Florida, Arizona, etc. Why doesn’t Maryland look to either eliminate or modify regulations that adversely affect retiring in Maryland. The most recent Census shows that Baltimore City has lost a substantial number of persons from the population. How many has Maryland lost because of the cost of living here? Why not look at ways to remedy this situation by making it cheaper, easier, and more attractive for retired persons or those approaching retirement to want to live in Maryland?

  • 1. The law that went into effect July 1, 2011, holding drivers license & registration renewals due to unpaid state income taxes…….is an awful law. No one thought about the senior citizens on fixed incomes……the unemployed…..the underemployed……people with medical conditions……And balances due from the 1980′s and early 1990′s are coming to surface…..issues people never knew about…..Seniors who only need a vehicle to drive to and from Dr. appts., pharmacy and grocery store….and then they find out about a 1991 tax bill created and their deceased spouse used to handle all financial matters. Seniors are very concerned about getting to their dr. appts., cancer treatments, etc. If people can’t get their tags or licenses renewed, then they drive illegally or do not go to work. Is this what MD wants?

    2. State employees’ FORCED contributions to the union. If you can’t strike – what’s the purpose of a union?

    3. Increase the gas tax? Ridiculous!

    4. Go after businesses that owe sales tax and payroll taxes. This means the businesses that owe LOTS of money ($10,000+) but “somehow” keep their business open………they obviously know someone “higher up”

    5. Cut down on State Vehicle usage……a lot of state employees DO NOT need to have a personal state vehicle to drive to and from home……using gas at taxpayers’ expense – car maintenance at taxpayers’ expense……state vehicles can be left at the worksite and used during the business day. State Police need their vehicles – but what does a Dept. Head or manager of an office need one for?

    6. Their is waste of funds in every agency/division. There are too many “middle managers” and Deputies to the Deputy to the Deputy……..not enough “indians” and too many “chiefs”. Not to mention all the positions “created” where the individual does NOTHING all day – no work assigned – just taking up space in offices – and getting pretty good paychecks too.

  • The way the system is set up, the more consultants a Maryland official handles, the greater his/her budget, importance, grade and salary. Credit should be given for how much money a government officer saves, not how much he/she spends. The state keeps reducing PINS and hiring more and more consultants, some of which have been employed for ten years or more! Shouldn’t there be a regulation that a PIN would automatically be issued for a position in which a consultant has been working for more than two years? The problem is that the state salaries for some professions are so low that departments are unable to hire qualified people. The DBM classifications are so obsolete that they have no relevance to today’s job market and pay scales. Salaries for the administrative staff are adequate but for licensed professionals and those in the construction trades, they are way below the market rate.

    • One of the reason salary structures are all messed up is because agency HR departments are not allowed to look beyond other state agencies, and it becomes a case of blind leading the blind. DBM needs to compare state salaries with those offered by Counties and the Federal government. Over the years, our State has lost numerous valuable state employees to local or the Federal government. It just doesn’t make any sense to keep eliminating state positions because of inadequate salaries or Hiring Freeze and then hire consultants at three times the rate to do the same or similar jobs.

  • This may or may not be the place to post but

    Can we please put an end to the race discrimination when it comes to people getting higher paying positions. I work at a location that must go unnamed in fear of losing my job (as i’m not part of the club) and I’ve been noticing a few things that just are right here. First let me say this, I’m not African American (although my skin isn’t white)and also none of these things affect me but others that i work with. I have to sit here and watch people get passed up for higher paying positions that are given to whites that have been here a lot less than the AA person passed up. In most cases its not an issue of experience nor work ethic. Are entire admin area is white dominated and too my knowledge not a single AA worker has been approached to take up one of these jobs. People are leaving too because of the pay so the positions are there, but its a “only if you are part of the club” deal. We have PINs moved from one department were an AA worker would end up with the PIN to to another department and given to a white employee, that already makes far more. When talking with them i bring up the idea of talking with HR. But they always come back saying “it won’t do any good, HR is ‘part of the club too’ and it hasn’t worked in the past.”

    It’s getting outta hand here. Like i said above i’am not black, but my skin is not white either. I’ve had to deal with my supervisor and his blatant different treatment of others based on skin color. Picture this my supervisor gets hired into a position and later applies to a management position that he wasn’t qualified for ( no degrees, no work experience, nor education in that field) so they hired someone for the position that has all the skills needed for the position. Awesome right!? the person hired was indeed an AA. Supervisor is a little peeved. Then he is moved out of his office and has to relocate to a different office. The person that took his old office was AA. Okay so he still has an office, but he’s is very unhappy with the move. ( he’s was moved because he would fall asleep in his office hiding behind his door. So now i work under him and all the frustration he has gets taken out on me. To the point others have complained. Others have noticed that when my friend does something (he happens to be white) its of no issue, but if i do the same thing it is an issue. When speaking with his supervisor i’m told ‘well we’ve had to do alot of work with him, and we’ve made his do a complete 180. This isn’t the first time we have had an issue with him or a complaint in regards to race discrimination’… Okay if this isn’t the first time why is he still around? Is it that he’s part of the club? This is just ONE situation so much more has happened

    i know people hear this all the time etc etc and you don’t have to take my work for it but an investigation would be nice.

    I would love to have someone contact me and discuss what going on without jeopardize my job ( the main reason why victims at work tend not to speak up).

    • Sorry about the misspelling/grammatical errors but i feel that i got my point across. Currently doing several things at once.

  • Maryland is a common law state entrusted by our citizens to protect public access to and the quality of our waterways. Permitting a new residential pier with a boat lift to be built in less than 6 inches without require dredging to take place first invites the environmental damage prop dredging brings …. but it happened and was authorized by the State of Maryland.

    Allowing utility companies to quietly lower the charted authorized clearing heights of their power lines over our waterways in an attempt to shift liability to the public if something goes wrong is criminal but it happened.

    I have lived on bay for nearly forty years and have observed these two events take place within the last two years. I quess deregulation is working our well for corporate America … but what is the price?

  • Stricter Laws Against Landlords to Protect Maryland Tenants and Prevent Homelessness/Evictions

    A. Stop Automatic Renewal of Leases in Leasing Contracts

    Landlords should not be able to include this clause in a contract. Currently, landlords/realtors are able to include this clause in the leasing contract and the lease will be automatically renewed without a review of the conditions of the contract or a change in the conditions of the property and amenties. MD Citizens must respond 60 days before term of lease of whether or not they will “renew or not” or they will be automatically renewed for the exact term of the original lease, even if they are being evicted. A change in the regulations concerning tenant-landlord laws need a major overhaul (we are behind most of the states in the union, including states like Mississippi and Alabama with old, antiquated laws that hurt not help MD citizens). This does not hinder realtors/landlords: with the job/economic/housing market being depressed/recessive, with untold thousands of foreclosure, the rental market has gone up. This is a call to ensure that tenants who have lost jobs, have thousands of dollars in health bills, a sick child/sick/elderly adults, senior citizens, students, etc. have the opportunity to only “ask for a renewal of a lease 60 days before the term of the current lease”; not an “automatic renewal” or a “notice to renew or it will be automatically renewed”. This is causing untold evictions in our state forcing individuals/families to look for alternative shelter while having to pay for a bill of thousands of dollars or be sued in court, have wages attached and thereby in “jeopardy” with new living arrangments, employment, transportation, basic living needs, etc.

    2. Ensure landlords are following city and code violations just like homeowners. Regulations giving landlords/realtors tax breaks are fine, but they need to keep housing affordable, vermin out of homes and ensure they meet all of the city and code violations before renting. I went through a horrendous ordeal in the city where there were numerous city code violations – furnance, electrical, plumbing, vermin, steps, etc. The landlords were able to use the courts and the law bent in their favor to get me out of the house “because I complained” and the courts upheld it and gave the landlords the rent escrow because “I didn’t send it to the corporate agent”. That’s wrong! The landlord also closed my ability to rent by not renewing my lease (thank God!), but that could have caused a homeless situation if God had not intervened. What about familes and children who had no alternative, no money, no way to manuever through all of the laws and codes, etc. I was basically renting in a commercial space for almost a year before the city was notified that I and others were living upstairs because the landlord ( a huge business in our state) decided to break the law and not register the spaces as “residential”. This was a major infraction of the city codes and they were “lightly fined” while I was punished by the system and the landlord. When I left the place, they still had a petition to fix steps that would only meet the city code standards if they were willing to pay over $6,000 to fix the stairs and they told the judge, “we will petition to close the apartment down”. Well, I don’t know if they ever closed the apartment down and what about the danger to my life and health all those months? The city also had a responsibility and failed.

    Tenant-Landlord laws should protect the “vulnerable” while also providing business opportunities to make our state healthy to landlords. Exacerbating the problems of affordable housing/safe, clean housing is the lack of equity in the tenant laws of Maryland that do not protect citizens. There have been several other tenant-landlord bills on the floor of the General Assembly in the last several years about this very thing: when will we pass regulations/policy that protect citizens, not just businesses? Thank you for your consideration.

  • Allow companies to submit letters, forms, reports, etc., electronically to reduce the amount of paper. Permits and COMAR need to be changed to allow the submission of electronic forms. Discharge Monitoring Report forms are now being submitted electronically via NetDMR.

    • In most cases the problem is the DGS Record Retention Schedule. It needs to be modified to allow for fewer or no paper records.

    • A move from paper-based to electronic processes is a great way to decrease friction and improve efficiency. We are looking at this across the board but if you have specific examples, please list them here to help us pinpoint specific targets.

      Bryan Sivak
      Chief Innovation Officer
      State of Maryland

      • Web-enable agency databases used to track environmental review projects such that project sponsors, Federal and State agencies, and interested parties are enabled to check on the status of these reviews online without having to call or email agency staff for updates. This increases the transparency of the regulatory review process for all interested parties, gives customers access to information on a 24/7 basis, and reduces staff workload. The cost to make this happen should be minimal – the issue is IT staff time. My agency’s IT staff simply don’t view this as a priority. On the one hand, I don’t blame them – they are too busy putting out fires since our IT budget/staff pool has been so drastically reduced over the past 3-5 years. On the other hand, the customer service payback and staff efficiency benefits of this type of project seem so obvious to me. Would there be a way for you – as the GIO – to assemble a cadre of database developers who assist agencies to build these sorts of systems when agencies don’t have the resources or manpower to do it themselves? A top down mandate saying “you will do this” in and of itself won’t solve agency problems; we need you to be a partner with agencies in finding solutions to these types of problems and in some cases that means targeting new resources for that purpose. Thank you for your consideration.

      • Allow timesheets to be submitted electronically. It would be very simple to digitally sign them and would eliminate the need for paper and “Mail runs.”
        26 pay sheets per year for every employee adds up quickly!

        • MDTime is already in place in many state agencies. It is highly efficient from my point of view (being a worker bee). I know some state agencies however are still using the paper system which is really unfortunate.

  • The hiring process needs some serious revision. There are so many contractual employees who continually have there contracts extended. I know people who have worked for 5-10 years as a contractual employee before ever being made permanent, or never be made permanent at all. It would be nice if there was something in place that you could be made a regular state employee if you work in a contractual position for longer than 2 years without a break. At the very least if you are a long term contractual employee you should get benefits and leave time. Holidays and sick days are just like furlough days for contractual employees.

    • I totally agree and was going to comment about this also. I’ve been a contractual employee with the state for 2 1/2 years with no break in service and no increase in pay. I was told when the furloughs ended, I would at least get a step increase. Well, for some reason or another, that didn’t happen. I think it’s totally unrealistic for the state to think that our families can continue to survive with no health benefits, no leave, and no pay increases. We can’t even use our ID’s to get free public transportation to work. We are just as committed as permanent employees and it would be nice if we are rewarded with some type of benefit for our service to the state.

    • True. If we are forced to take furloughs we should be paid for the holidays. In the last 5 years I have not received one sick day.I think long term contractual s who have proved their dedication should be rewarded with a few payed holidays. They can’t afford to get sick.

    • Contractual employees are abused. I worked as a contractual employee for almost nine years. Six of those years I received a yearly “there should be a pin opening soon” promise. No sick days, no holidays, poor salaries. The life of a state contractual employee. I still make very little money considering I have 12 nearly years experience. The years I spent as a contractual ment nothing. My salary started at, and still is, that of some one who just walked in the door. While the “poor” teachers who can barely turn out a literate child, get benefits after benefits and never have thier budget cut. Also, if the child can read, and possibly perform some math, they still can’t compete in todays colleges and universities.

  • In certain areas in the State of Virginia, the cost of gasoline is 20 to 30 cent/gallon cheaper than in Maryland. If we are competing with states for economic development, why would we entertain raising the gas tax? People are generally attracted to where they believe they can reasonable afford to live. That includes transportation costs.

  • What are the Maryland Department of the Environment plans for NetDMR Implementation?

    What is NetDMR?

    NetDMR is a Web-based tool that allows National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees to electronically sign and submit their Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) to EPA’s Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS-NPDES) via the Environmental Information Exchange Network. NetDMR is designed to reduce the burden on EPA, states, and the regulated community; improve data quality; provide a cost savings; and expand the ability of both states and EPA in targeting their limited resources to meet environmental goals. An essential component of NetDMR is the exchange of data with ICIS-NPDES allowing permittees to complete a DMR that is specific to their permit limits and outfalls.

    The NetDMR program is now available. Be sure to Catch the Wave! Permittee and Data Provider training will be offered by Webinar. We recommend that you attend both training sessions. Upon completion of NetDMR training, permittees will be able to log on to the NetDMR Test database and allow staff to try different roles and responsibilities, perform direct DMR entry or importing DMR data, and signing forms. After one or more successful transmissions of DMR data, you can create your account, submit the signed Subscriber Agreement to the Maryland Department of the Environment, get approval for Signatory and Permit Administrator authority, and go “live” in time for your future DMR submittals.

  • How about regulations limiting minors from pan handle for organizations (school related activities, and non profit or for profit organizations)? Pan handling increases the minor’s risk of being hit by cars, being kidnapped or an easy target for pedophiles. There should be designated areas concerning traffic flow and an attire regulation that should be worn by minors if their organization requires them to panhandle for money. The organization that encourages minors to panhandle should have some type of permit or have insurance incase a minor is hurt.

  • 1. Eliminate the resident agent requirement for out-of-state businesses trying to incorporate in Maryland. It’s archaic, burdensome, and doesn’t actually do anything.

    2. Eliminate ground rent, period. It’s an 18th century real estate scam.

    3. Require state agencies to share statistical, demographic, and GIS data. My taxes pay for it, it’s not yours to resell.

    4. Stop gerrymandering, it’s dirty.

    5. My house is worth $100,000 less than when I bought it yet the county keeps raising my property taxes, my husband and I haven’t seen a raise at work in 5 years. STOP RAISING TOLLS AND TAXES.

    • HoCoGrrrl,

      We are working on providing access to all state-generated GIS data for free. Stay tuned!

      Bryan Sivak
      Chief Innovation Officer
      State of Maryland

    • I agree with HoCoGrrrl
      there aren’t too many things in MD left to tax and our paychecks show it. How about a raise State of MD use to be the best place to work….not anymore……they basically work for free. Pay union dues for what? Just one more think to shrink the paychecks….raise gas?????? again….how about the politians taking a hit to their wallet for once……oh I am sure it the economy isnt affecting them after all they are the ones that ruined this state…and the banks and DC….a bunch of crooks. We are being taxed on taxes already taxed give it break…..

  • Decriminalization of Homeless Persons – Vagrancy Laws Need Review

    It is my hope that with the new 2011 Point in Time Survey by Baltimore City and all over the state/nation, during these economic times, that more solutions are available for citizens who due to uncontrollable circumstances or even due to misfortune/bad choices, are given the basic needs of shelter, food, clothes and medical assistance.

    Until that time, regulations throughout the state that make living on the street a crime, should be reviewed and altered knowing that there are not enough low-cost, affordable housing in most areas around the state; nor enough shelters to house the increasing (alarming) homelessness rate. Children at an increasing rate, are homeless and living on the street: are we going to send them to jail or foster care (which can be like a jail for some, exacerbating the violence, dysfunction and chronic issues facing vulnerable children).

    Please review these regulations in light of what is happening all over mainstream America and our state. Until solutions are found, we need not make life more complicated for those who are struggling for life on a daily basis. Thank you.

    • Expand McVet to reduce the ~20% homeless population for veterans. Utilize empty buildings that Vice President Biden already stated were being funded by government. Utilize the empty barracks for the homeless. Expand HUD-VASH.

      Provide CIVIL attorney representation for these vulnerable veterans. Create veteran jobs to act as educated representatives to help these vulnerable veterans navigate Dept of Social Services and the legal system.

      Homeless shelters (the 34 I called locally) are overflowing.

  • Creating a process and position to bridge the gap between the processing of Retiree Health Benefits and the Retirement Benefit.

  • Tighter regulations on the use of the Transportation Trust Fund. We, as state citizens, pay gas taxes that are to go to the Transportation Trust Fund but politicians for at least the last 4 Administrations have raided it to fulfull campaign pledges and to fill the gaps in the General fund. As a state worker in the transportation field it has effected my livelyhood and the overall general feeling that I have everytime I ride down a state road where repairs to the infrastructure needs to be repaired but the funds aren’t there due to the use of Trust Fund monies for other needs. It seems hard to defend roadway user fees, gas tax hikes, etc. when you see roads in the conditions that they are.

  • Do away with FORCED union dues and political contribution fees. Since there is only one union set up as the collective bargaining agent, another political payoff, one should not be forced to have this deduction automatically taken from their pay.

    • Only the few are being held to this standard. The employees who don’t supervise others and make substantially less money than supervisors are taxed with this regulation. Why is this? I sure the union represents supervisors as well as the actual “working class” in grievance appeals.

  • The College Textbook Competition and Affordability Act of 2009 imposed excessive administrative overhead on higher education in Maryland. A voluntary system would have, in my view, accomplished as much, or nearly as much, without costing the State of Maryland so much. The paperwork and reporting requirements are way out of bounds in relation to the benefits of the act, as compared with what I think could have been achieved by regularly reminding faculty to give serious consideration to the cost of texts in deciding which books to require. A review of the effectiveness of the law is in order. I testified before a legislative committee at the time, and it was clear to me that our representatives were pandering to public complaints, and failed to take the testimony of students, faculty, and administrators of our colleges and universities seriously. Our institutions of higher learning were punished for the state of the textbook publishing industry.

  • Creating a process and positionst to bridge the gap between the processing of Retiree Health Benefits and the Retirement Benefit.

  • Emissions testing for vehicles should be easier, quicker, and faster and there should be more sites with more hours and the way this can be done is to eliminate the state’s role and certify a few auto shops to handle the emissions testing. They already have the computer equipment to test emissions equipment and check emissions when a vehicle’s check engine light comes on. In addition, start testing new vehicles after five years not two years since the vehicles were already certified by EPA for the year inwhich they were built.

  • Traffic, Parking violations for the State to include city and county government

    De-criminalize these types of violations. With more cameras for moving violations, and the malfunction of such in several instances, these are not “criminal” in nature, especially the parking. If vehicular tickets cause person or property harm, depending on the nature of the “event” should determine if a “criminal offense or not”. Baltimore city’s parking tickets stating “you have committed a crime”? if you didn’t read the sign correctly or whatever…I’m not saying that the fines should be reduced (but definitively reviewed, like on a scale, 1st ticket $10, second ticket $25 etc in a 12-month period and then erased from the books). But decriminalizing parking and certain moving violations is important to citizens.

    Towing should also be reviewed: when does the tow company come? If they are waiting like hawks to eat up the car, 3 minutes afterward and such, then it leads one to think that they are prowling the streets to try to just get money and rack up money for the city/county. Thank you.

  • Police to Crack Down on Jaywalkers

    People cross Twinbrook Parkway at Fishers Lane near the Twinbrook Metro Station in Rockville. Four people were killed while crossing Montgomery County Streets between January and June, and 174 collisions involved people crossing roads, county Show
    Source:Dan Gross / The Gazette

    …….”It’s not like we’re writing tickets everywhere. said Montgomery County Police Capt. Thomas Didone. “but we’re saying if you’re in a high-incident area, and we’re conducting enforcement, don’t expect a warning. Expect a ticket.”…….

    ……. Pedestrians will be cited for jaywalking, which is failing to cross at marked crosswalks —- a violation that carries a $50 fine. Police also will cite pedestrians for failing to obey crosswalk signals, walking diagonally across intersections and other infractions. …….

  • I encourage a review and clarification of the inmate medical co–pay (for non-emergent, inmate initiated health care encounters.)

  • Become a “Shall Issue State” with concealed carry permits. Lower the fees and make permits easier to obtain by law-abiding citizens. Require certification through an approved firearms course. Every criminal in the state has a firearm at their disposal, while the law-abiding Marylander has little to no chance of receiving a permit through the State Police. Re-examine the issue of allowing county sheriff’s to approve permits.

  • My comment is that we have a wonderful state. However I feel that being a state employee has its ups and downs. While DOC employees are being furloughed and salary has been reduced, we are giving inmates $50 per release and free birth certificates and social security cards. I think that is a major issue.

  • This is not a regulatory issue as much as it is a problem in the law. Many of my colleagues here see this as waste in retirement spending. Under the old Employees and Teachers’ Retirement Systems the ordinary disability benefit was capped at the accrued benefit. Under the Employees and Teachers Pension System there is no cap and what is happening is that the ordinary disability benefit in many cases is even greater than the accidental disability benefit as the ordinary disability benefit is projected to age 62. Many of us feel that this should be capped at 30 years. Either way it is not right that the Pension system ordinary disability benefit be so much more liberal than that for the Retirement systems. We use to always joke about when an employee tripped or otherwise got a slight injury here at the office that they should file for an accidental disability benefit, now the joke is – No I hurt myself at home, I’m going for the ordinary disability benefit.

    What surprised me here also is that the effort to curb retirement spending which included a of panel looking into ways where we could cut retirement spending did not close this inequality.

  • The State Police Forensic Sciences Division needs to removed from the State Police and should be its own independent entity. This would help eliminate the thought of bias on the scientific analysis conducted on behalf of the many citizens of Maryland.

  • I have worked for several state govt. agencies and I have seen on a daily basis a gross misuse of state issued vehicles . I can’t imagine how much gas has been wasted on employees using these vehicles for their own usage. I think their needs to be some heavy regulation assigned for the use of these vehicles.

  • Revamping the State’s Information Technology Policy. It makes no sense for the Governor to send a video message to state employees asking for input that we cannot actually view from our work computers. MDOT’s internet policy prevents us from viewing anything that is considered to be social networking (You Tube, TWITTER, Facebook). I understand the policy but the certain information from government officials should be permitted.

    • There really isn’t any reason to block anything, imo. If I’m at work on Facebook all day, either fire me for being useless or give me work to do.

      • Not to mention smartphones have made it possible to view social media while at work without the use of your computer (not that I engage in this). It is just pointless to block these sites. Social media has its benefits, even in the workplace.

    • I agree – There is a lot of good infomation that is recorded on video from the Governor and shown on sites such as YouTube or facebook. MDOT does not allow the modes to have access to that information due to the Social Networking restrictions. We receive the emails to view the Governors speaches, etc on our work email address, can not access them at work, but need to log on at home to view the information… providing that all state employees have a home computer and logon to their work email. If an employee does not have a computer at home, then they will never get the opprtunity to view the information.

    • My question. Why is the governor using this website during regular working hours? Better yet, why is he promoting the use of this website during working hours?

  • Please CHANGE the workmen’s comp. policy! Currently, if you are injured on your state job, you will receive only 2/3 your pay! Break a leg @ work? 66% salary. Break a leg ANYWHERE ELSE: 100% salary.
    What an unattractive way to treat employees – especially if work caused the injury!

  • Raise our wages Stop raising taxes if you can help it.
    Stop the bottle tax.

    • I agree the States salary scale is still so close to poverty. Increase the pay scale so people would at least enjoy coming to work

      • how is that “regulatory reform” which is what this site is for? raising your pay is the worst thing we can do. get another job if you are unhappy or learn to be happy that you have a job like the rest of us do

  • A mandatory formula must be established for determining the dimensions of a USA Congressional District. This formula will incorporate the use of fractal geometry to calculate the shortest length of the circumference of a polygon that contains a common physiographic region and cultural area. This mandatory formula will benefit all USA Citizens with a common goal of becoming a more effective and productive union.

  • I THINK THAT WE NEED TO START FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULES THAT ARE FLEXIBLE LIKE THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES DONT HAVE TO COMMIT TO A SET SCHEDULE THEY CAN BE FLEXIBLE ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS AS LONG AS THEY REPORT TO WORK WITHIN A SET TIME E.G. IF I COME IN ON MON AT 7:30 I WORK UNTIL 4:00, IF I COME IN ON TUES AT 7:00 I WORK UNTIL 3:30 AND SO ON AND SO FORTH

    • I agree, Michele. The nature of many of our jobs does not require set in stone work hours. This type of flexing cuts down drastically on absenteeism.

    • I agree with you. Often the reason a person would like to work a flexible schedule is so that they can have flexibility when needed. Instead of trying to make a person “late” for work, it would help them to be more relaxed if they know they can get there in between a certain timeframe and still be ontime. And if they have a meeting or something then yes they should come in at that time. And if they are not coming at the regular say 7am then they should at least be accountable by letting someone, maybe a flexible telephone line operator or email account know, so that others can know when to expect the person would be helpful.

      • I agree with Michele. If a person comes in at 7 or 7:30 they should be able to leave at 4 or 4:30 and give a person who may need to flex their time because…school is out/daycare not available, etc. Then people won’t get written up EVERYTIME they are late.

      • As a temporary employee with a boss who sometimes worked from home, I would send her a daily “Good Morning!” email for my arrival and a “Good evening!” prior to departing. She knew my hours and saw my work accomplished.

        Flex time really works.

    • The problem is that the “public” sees you coming and going at all different hours, and takes video of you getting to work or leaving late or early and gives it to the media, and then where would we be?

      • As long as the state employee is coming and going within the designated flex schedule time frame (usually from 7:00 am – 9:00 am to start work) this shouldn’t be an issue. State workers give so much of their time without compensation, something as simple as offering flex time to reduce work related stress shouldn’t be denied.

        • 99% of state workers have no idea about work related stress! This is the funniest thing I have ever seen as someone that knows the life of many government workers and having been a private sector worker all my life. There is simply no comparison to these. State highway is the laughing stock of the entire private sector with all thier new trucks that haul around 4 man crews to hang one sign?!?! Doesnt your stress go away on all the paid holidays, sick leave and weeks of paid vacation? We work everyday and cant be sick

    • flex schedules would also help with alleviation of traffic problems, ie gridlock, pollution, gas consumption, road wear and tear

  • Step one should be to purge all the corrupt politicians from their no-show state jobs. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon was an “international marketing specialist” at DBED during the 1990′s. Sure…. Now we learn Baltimore County councilman Ken Oliver is on the state payroll. Come on, folks. Throw the bozos out and bring in competent professionals!!!

  • How about making it easier for the individual to sell on places like EBay. I’m not a company or corporation, just an individual who would like to sell crafted items such as pillows, hats, scarfs but have to go through a lot of hoops to accomplish that. I understand that I have to pay taxes but why make it so difficult?

  • How about NOT gerrymandering Maryland. Redistrict Maryland to be a more FAIR and BALANCED state. Earn the respect of the voters and not upset them so much they want to leave the state and never come back.
    When you vote for a representative, and that person is no longer your representative because your Governor wants to eliminate as much Republican representation as possible from your state. It irritates the daylights out of those voters and the want to leave. The following articles show what’s happening in Maryland thanks to Governor Martin O’malley.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-opinions-are-local/post/making-maryland-gerrymandering-worse/2011/03/11/gIQAFj9sKL_blog.html

    http://www.gazette.net/article/20111020/OPINION/710209927/1014/paul-gordon-gerrymandering-the-maryland-congressional-districts&template=gazette

    Look at the History of Michigan and Detroit then look at the history of Maryland and Baltimore notice the leadership and the direction we’re heading. It’s sad.

  • Remove any regulation that treats LGBT persons any different than their straight counterparts.

    • Try living in England bro, they are a lot higher, stop being cheap…As are other state in the US

    • DO increase the gas tax! Then bike to work like me lol :)

  • Streamline the building permit process. Make it easier to build and they will come. In addition, if homeowners don’t have to jump through hoops to get a permit, you’ll have safer and more legal improvements done which in turn will boost the homes valve and generate an increase in tax revenue.

  • Just to view the pdf version of the COMAR (code of maryland regulations) you have to purchase them? Anywhere from $15 to $1,000 for the complete set! Wow, come on Governor! In this age of the computer is there a reason for people to pay the State to see the regulations that are being placed on them if they did want to go into business? Especially since taxpayers have paid to create and print every one of them already.

    • Actually the cost is when you wish to order printed copies. You can, in fact, view the COMAR regulations online. This website http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/comar.aspx gives you three different options for searching through the regulations.

  • How about an emergency order to lower all property tax rates or assessments down at least 30%? If you want to create more jobs and stimulate spending you need people to have the money in their pockets to invest and spend. That would solve two problems. First is that all property is assessed at values that are sometimes double (so it would correct them all) and second citizens and business owners would have money to invest in products.

  • How about no longer requiring a front license plate on passenger cars as way to cut unessessary regulation on auto dealers and to save money and resources for the state. Delaware and 19 other states do not issue front license plates.

    • I agree. This is good idea and would certainly save our State money.

    • Front license plates allow the police to more readily identify vehicles that may be involved in criminal actitivity. It’s a safety measure that I’m sure many criminals would love to see removed.

    • Definitely remove the front plates. It is useless to have them when people from other states like PA without a front plate are driving through. All enforcement uses the rear plate, and many cars (like mine) do not actually have a real spot built in for the front plate, so it is just ugly sticking on there.

      • Georgia, Florida, and Michigan do not require a front license plate. If these large states can live without them while saving millions of dollars of precious monies, so can Maryland.

  • I think the measures that have been put in place are great.

  • good stuff

  • How about eliminating filing fees for companies in Maryland that register as public Benefit Corporations or B-Corps? This could not only encourage more entrepreneurial activity but also provides benefits to our communities.

  • How about reducing the $300 “filing fee” for Sole proprietor LLCs? It eats into profits for small businesses and prevents growth.

    • Agree.

    • Agree. Especiall since I read at one time that “the backbone of business in Md is small business”. A sole proprietorship LLC should not have to pay 300.00. However, $25.00 is recommended.

    • I agree with reducing / waiving $300 annual fee for small LLC’s

  • I have a lifetime license but have to send off for a new one each season? They use to just mail you the License, along with all your tags. It saved the hassle of going to the store, especially since you don’t have to hunt down tags when places are out. Now you have to register online and do it or go to the store.

    • I actually like the online registration. It’s easier.

      • Only thing is, if you have any flags, you still have to go into the MVA to get the renewal.