A reorganization plan affecting the Prince George's Human Resources Department was criticized this week by a union spokesman who represents the agency employees.
The union official said he was not upset because the plan would cut 63 positions or even because the department itself would be abolished - it was the fact that the union only heard about the reorganization plan through rumors.
"We were told it would not happen. Then this bombshell was laid on employees to take as soon as the council approves it," said Dennis C. Brownlee, vice president of Local 1619, American Federation State, County and Municipal Employees who said about 50 per cent of his membership have received transfers to other departments.
Brownlee added: "We are still trying to find out exactly what the plan will mean." Brownlee said the employees do not know how the plan will affect their tenure or their job classifications, nor do they know what this will mean for their union.
"We have tried to get in contact with the council to find out what this will mean for our contract," said Brownlee, who indicated that a new three-year contract ironically was set for approval the day after the reorganization plan was disclosed by the county executive.
The reorganization plan, which was outlined this week during a press conference in County Executive Winfield M. Kelly's office, will eliminate the county's Department of Human Resources by placing each of the department's units into other county departments. For instance, manpower will be shifted to personnel. The plan would also sever the department of aging from the human resources department, creating an independent agency without reducing any of its services.
According to a spokemans for the county executive, the elimination of the human resources department "will not cut any services and will not result in any firings." The spokesman also said the move would result in a county savings of aproximately $100,000 by reducing the funding needed for duplicative programs.
Wayne Curry, the acting director of the human resources department, said the plan to end the department has been two years in the making. Curry, one of the county's few black department heads, said: "This move to shut down the Department of Human Resources is the best thing that could happen to black people."
"It was black people," Curry said, "that were shoved off to the side in the past. This department was their only means of upward mobility.
"Ultimately, they had to stab each other in the back."
Aside from the inhouse bickering Curry also cited the virtual merry-go-round of department heads in the last two years.
"This department has also been the subject of scandals," said Curry who cited the past findings of a government agency which indicated that the county's manpower program was one of only a handful in the country that was mismanaged for a county its size.