CUMBERLAND — All three Allegany County commissioners approved most of the budget cuts and cost-saving measures proposed two weeks ago by the county’s senior management team — but not before chiding a county resident who is running for commissioner in the 2010 election.

The partial approval came Thursday at the commissioners’ weekly public meeting to address a shortfall this fiscal year of slightly more than $2 million. The cuts are necessary since the Aug. 26 statewide cuts implemented by Gov. Martin O’Malley and the state Board of Public Works.

Acting County Administrator David Eberly said not a single comment from constituents, either by phone, e-mail or other communication, has been received by county staff on the measures in the last two weeks. Little Orleans resident Bill Valentine, a 2010 candidate for commissioner, submitted a letter to the Times-News questioning the commissioners’ decision to cancel last week’s public meeting due to an apparent lack of agenda items. Valentine argued that would have been an opportunity for the public to comment about the proposal.

Stakem noted Valentine did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Commissioner Dale Lewis said, “Any citizen, whether by e-mail or personal call, can let (Finance Director) Jerry (Frantz) or any of the commissioners know if they don’t like this proposal.”

“Tell us what they want to cut,” Lewis said. “Let them tell us that. But nobody is saying anything. If they were sitting in this seat, what would they do?”

Much of the plan is finalized and is highlighted by requiring all non-24/7 county employees to take two furlough days — Oct. 12 and Nov. 30 — but the financial burden will be spread over the remaining pay periods through June 30. Not included in the required furlough days are county dispatchers, Bureau of Police officers and detention center staff.

Those three entities are being asked to give up a personal day or a paid holiday instead of furlough so as not to create an adverse impact on manpower or generate overtime costs.

Circuit court employees, including sheriff’s deputies, state’s attorney’s office staff and court personnel, are expected to follow the state schedule of furlough days and take unpaid leave Dec. 24 and 31.

Frantz reviewed the plan first presented during a Sept. 3 work session. He said about 80 percent of the plan could be approved during the meeting. The balance, approximately $360,000, would have to wait.

The bulk of that is a proposed $340,000 cut in the county’s appropriations to dependent agencies, including the Allegany County Board of Education.

“Time needs to be given from outside agencies,” Frantz said. “I believe that can be in place in the next two weeks.”

The county had to receive written authorization from independent agency heads in order for certain employees to go along with the budget reduction. Frantz said Circuit Court Judge Gary Leasure, Board of Elections Supervisor Kitty Davis and State’s Attorney Michael Twigg all have indicated their offices will participate.

“We’re still waiting for Sheriff (David) Goad” to respond, Frantz said. “And of course, we were turned down by the liquor board.”

Elected officials and certain appointed officials were requested to follow the commissioners’ gesture of contributing a portion of their salaries back to the county treasury. Frantz said Twigg and Assistant State’s Attorneys Frederick Voss and Linda Thomas have agreed to do so. The county has not yet heard from Davis or Chief Judge Donna May of the Orphans Court.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Commissioner Jim Stakem. “It’s going to take a couple of weeks to sort it out.”

The work might not be over. A new revenue estimate was discussed Thursday in Annapolis and O’Malley predicted a future cut of between $290 million and $300 million.

“We don’t know what the extent would be to Allegany County,” Frantz said.

Contact Kevin Spradlin at kspradlin@times-news.com.

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