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Entire delegation pledges to give back some pay

October 26, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- State lawmakers representing Washington County are taking different approaches to a legislative furlough program.

Most are returning pay in the same way state employees are being forced to lose part of their salaries.

Some legislators are directing paychecks to charities instead of returning money to the state.

State employees are facing up to 10 unpaid days -- five furlough days and five days when many government offices are closed -- as the state battles a budget deficit of more than $1 billion.

Lawmakers are in the $40,000 to $49,999 salary range. Employees at that level must take three furlough days and lose five days' pay as government offices close.

The daily rate of pay for legislators was calculated at $120.84.

Within the county delegation, Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr. and Del. Andrew A. Serafini are returning 10 days of pay.

Del. Christopher B. Shank and Sen. George C. Edwards are giving back eight days.

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Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. thought about donating money to people who need it, but said it got complicated, so he sent back eight days of pay.

Sen. Donald F. Munson gave up $1,000, or about 8 1/4 days of pay.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney said he's donating $1,000 to local charities. One quarter will go to the Frederick, Md., rescue mission and another quarter to the Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick. He and his wife hadn't decided on the other charities as of last week.

"If everyone is sacrificing, then we should as well," Mooney said.

Del. John P. Donoghue, the delegation's only Democrat, said last week he plans to donate 10 days of pay to charities. At least some will go to Holly Place, a Hagerstown senior citizens group home short on money, he said.

An Oct. 19 list of about 100 delegates participating in the furlough program shows that roughly 60 percent were returning eight days of pay. About a third were giving back 10 days.

Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons, D-Montgomery, was returning 20 days of pay, the most of any lawmaker.

Among 34 senators listed, nearly three-quarters were giving back eight days of pay and nearly a quarter were returning 10 days of pay.

The state, which released records through a Public Information Act request, said one legislator donated a portion of salary but asked not to be named.

Other legislators might have donated directly to charity and aren't listed.

Similarly, last year, legislators were asked to give back up to five days' pay as part of a furlough program.

Myers, Serafini, Edwards, Munson, Shank and Weldon all said they'd give up the five days' pay.

Mooney said last week that he gave $250 to the rescue mission and $250 to the Care Net Pregnancy Center last year.

Donoghue said last week that he also gave money to charity last year. He thinks some went to Holly Place, he said.

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