A $23,000-a-year Montgomery County bureaucrat has done the unthinkable -- he has asked the government to abolish his job.
And the county took him up on it.
So 30-year-old Wayne Norris, an enginner for Montgomery County for six years, will be out of work on July 1 because he told his boss that his job as a "development process coordinator" was an unneeded luxury.
The news of Norris' action -- which has happened before in Montgomery, but the personnel director could not remember when -- was greeted with amazement and admiration. "This must be a joke, are you serious?" asked one administrative aide. "I can't believe someone would walk around and say his job is a 'lunxury' for the county. What is this guy, independently wealthy?"
"That's the type of employe the County should find a place for," said another worker, "It's neat, don't you think?"
Norris says, "I know it sounds idealistic, but they didn't need me anymore."
His job in the Department of Environmental Protection, he said, has become unnecessary because he has accomplished some of the things that the job was supposed to do, and other duties were transferred to another office during a recent reorganization. If he had stayed, he said, he would have become a "glorified clerk."
Norris' boss, Fran Abrams, said, "What he did certainly goes against the grain of the typical bureaucrat whose only interest is to see his job and his realm increased."
When Norris met with Abrams to suggest his job be eliminated she said she "had essentially reached the same conclusion myself."
Norris' job as the county's development process coordinator was created in part to help expedite the handling of building permits. At one time a builder would routinely have to wait three or four months before his application would be approved and he could begin construction. Norris said he reduced the wait to a month. He also said that a large portion of his time was devoted t serving as an ombudsman for developers trying to deal with the country government.
Budget director John Short said Norris' action was "unusual" but it does happen occasionally.
Usually employes whose jobs are eliminated through no fault of their own are transferred to other comparable positions in the Montgomery government. Norris, however, had a unitque job classification that will force him to compete with others for any job with the county in the future.
"I consider him a talented individual and I don't think he will have any difficulty," Abrams said.
Norris said he is not very worried. Engineers are in demand, he said, and he is a single man with no dependents. His biggest financial obligations are the $12,000 Porche he bought himself "to celebrate" when he was hired and the $13,000 boat he recently purchased half of. "But what the hell," he said.