Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Maryland State Employee Rights In Light of Committee Hearings

The recent hearings by the Special Committee on State Employee Rights and Protections beg the question: what rights and protection do state employees have?

State employees are classified in several basic categories:

1. Skilled service. Most State employees are in this category. They are selected on a competitive basis and enjoy full merit system protection.

2. Professional service. These employee have advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning acquired through special courses and study, often requiring a professional license or advanced degree. Most professionals enjoy merit system protection.

3. Management service. These employees have direct oversight over personnel and financial resources, but are not in the executive service.

4. Executive service. Political appointments at the highest levels of State government.

5. Special Appointments. About 10% of all state employees fall in this catch all category.

Most employees serving special appointments, in the management service, and in the executive service and are noncompetitively selected and deemed to be "at will." They make up about 10% of the State's payroll

Today's Washington Post states that the Special Committee is looking into claims that "[Governor] Ehrlich went beyond the usual bounds by firing low- and middle-level bureaucrats and technicians." These actions "have spawned several lawsuits, many of them alleging they were discriminated against because of their political party."

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