Maryland General Assembly Holds Emergency Hearing on State Staffing Crisis

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 Maryland General Assembly Holds Emergency Hearing on State Staffing Crisis

Budget & Tax and Appropriations Joint Hearing with DLS, Community Leaders and State Workers to Demand Answers on Staffing Shortage within State Agencies 

Annapolis, Md. (October 29, 2019) – Today, the Senate Budget & Taxation and House Appropriations Committees held an emergency joint hearing to demand answers on the chronic staffing shortage within state agencies. Lawmakers were briefed by the Department of Legislative Services, community leaders and state workers, as well as the Hogan administration. 

The emergency hearing follows a recent Department of Legislative Services (DLS) analysis that reviewed laws, rules, regulations, caseload standards, and best practices related to agency staffing in the state. The analysis quantified the need for 2,631 positions (1,126 new authorized positions and the need to fill 1,505 existing positions) in 11 agencies.

“We need to start addressing this crisis immediately,” said President of AFSCME Maryland Patrick Moran. “Through systemic underfunding and delays on filling vacancies, the Hogan administration has proven they do not care about the quality of our state services or the critical role they can have for the average taxpayer. Our union is here to start identifying solutions to address the staffing crisis and to protect and improve Maryland’s public services.”

According to Moran, the consequences of these drastic cuts have resulted in diminished services provided to the citizens of Maryland, increased costs, forced overtime, inadequate training and extreme, dangerous conditions within the public safety and social services industries.

“I urge the General Assembly and Governor Hogan to take immediate action to fill vacant positions and work together to develop a multi-prong approach to retain qualified employees,” Moran said.

Community members filled the Joint Committee Hearing room, echoing the need for action from the General Assembly. Charly Carter of the NAACP said this urgent support has vast, community-wide implications.

"One of the principal ways our state's black middle class have prospered has been through plentiful, good-paying public service careers where they made a major impact because they were given the tools to succeed," said Carter. "While black females predominantly comprise the state government's social services positions today, they are under the dual pressures of being understaffed and underpaid, which makes it incredibly difficult for their majority minority clients to receive the type of support needed. On both ends, blacks are suffering because the state continues to make bad decisions." 

Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D-11) concurred, “This is a perpetual issue that affects providing critical services to the State of Maryland. It is wrong that we cannot feel confident to address these needs because we don’t have the staff to do it, and it’s wrong that workers and staffers alike are often in unsafe environments.”

Hear more about the staffing crisis through the voices of state workers:


AFSCME Maryland is the state’s largest and fastest-growing union for public service employees. We make Maryland happen.