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NEWS
May 2, 2011
Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, is holding a public forum May 23 to talk about new changes to the state retirement and pension system. Two representatives of the State Retirement Agency are scheduled to join Serafini: Executive Director R. Dean Kenderdine and J. Howard Pleines, the director of legislation and research. The forum will be at South Hagerstown High School from 7 to 9 p.m., according to Rebecca Fishack, Serafini’s assistant. Serafini said he called the meeting because there wouldn’t be enough time to talk in-depth about the topic at post-legislative wrap-up forums May 11. The meeting is free to the public, members of which will have a chance to ask questions.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | April 21, 2012
Washington County's state legislators pursued some lofty but unattainable goals this year, along with several more grounded ideas that succeeded. Sen. George C. Edwards and Del. John P. Donoghue each won a share of the state's capital budget for local projects. Sen. Ronald N. Young sponsored successful legislation to protect employees or job applicants from having to hand over their passwords to social media sites. After four failed tries, Sen. Christopher B. Shank amended his proposal to increase the penalty for fatal child abuse this year and it passed.
NEWS
November 30, 1999
If there was a theme to Saturday's annual pre-session meeting between members of the Washington County Delegation to the General Assembly and the public, it was pensions, prisons and property taxes. And not necessarily in that order. See Sunday's Herald-Mail for the full story.
NEWS
November 27, 2002
Week of Nov. 24, 1952 Just 27 years ago this month the first play by what was to develop into the Potomac Playmakers was staged in Hagerstown. The play, "Come Out of the Kitchen," was presented by the Dramatic Section of the Women's Club. The city's cost of providing pensions for retired policemen next year is estimated at $13,000; the cost of providing pensions for retired firemen, $2,670. The 1953 cost of providing pensions for all other city workers is $53,000, an increase of $2,000 over the cost this year.
NEWS
By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town | August 27, 1998
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A roving workshop to help veterans get medical services and set up pensions made its way to the Eastern Panhandle on Thursday. U.S. Rep. Bob Wise, D-W.Va., decided to bring all the agencies together under one roof at the National Guard Armory off Paynes Ford Road in Martinsburg to help veterans get what they need. Mobile offices offering everything from cholesterol screening to Social Security assistance were set up inside the building. Filing for benefits is a lengthy process and can involve dealing with several different agencies, he told officials.
NEWS
October 24, 2007
On Tuesday, Gov. Martin O'Malley outlined a way to cut Maryland's $1.7 billion structural deficit through cuts, if his proposed mix of tax increases and changes fails. Washington County would face $19 million in cuts or eliminated increases, including: · $6.2 million in frozen education funding · $6 million for Medicaid · $1.4 million in frozen teacher and library pensions · $782,000 for Hagerstown Community College · $259,000 for local health · $138,000 in police aid · $119,000 in library grants Also, Maryland State Arts Council funding that totaled $13 million statewide this year would be eliminated.
NEWS
July 31, 2006
Del. LeRoy E. Myers, R-Washington/Allegany is seeking another term in office. Myers, a Republican, said he wants to return to the House of Delegates because "the job's not done. "I think the state has come a long way in four years," he said, with a growing number of Republicans in the General Assembly and the first GOP governor in three decades "restoring fiscal responsibility. We have started to see a lot of changes as far as spending taxpayers' money more wisely and eating away at our structural deficit.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | February 27, 2008
Second bill filed to boost correctional officers' pensions ANNAPOLIS -- A labor union is focusing on a second bill to boost correctional officers' pensions now that the first bill is gone. Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, had filed a bill proposing a new tier for lieutenants, captains and majors. Their pension would be 2.5 percent of their average final salary, times the number of years they served. However, other officers would stay on a lower tier and actually would see a slight decline in their pensions, as the multiplier dipped from 1.82 percent to 1.8 percent.
NEWS
By ERIN CUNNINGHAM | December 11, 2008
WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The state's budget prospects appear bleak, and local representatives warned Thursday that the projected shortfall will hurt Washington County. Lawmakers warned that there likely will be less money coming to Washington County from the state, which has a projected budget shortfall of at least $1 billion. Five members of Washington County's delegation to the General Assembly answered questions during a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce event Thursday.
NEWS
May 16, 2006
Economy is great, but who benefits? To the editor: This letter is for all the people out there who believe the spin doctors who are telling you the economy is good. The people in low-income jobs have not had an increase in wages since 1997, the last time there was an increase in the minimum wage. But the cost of gas to get to these jobs is going out of sight. Thanks to our governments - state, county and city - our property tax assessment keeps going up, which means our property taxes keep going up. Our water and sewer rates keep going up. We now have a flush tax, our car registration fees keep going up and our cost for a dump sticker keeps going up. Our tax base keeps increasing, with all the new properties being built, but the County Commissioners just keep spending everything they take in. These state, county and city governments do nothing for people on fixed incomes, unless you are below the poverty level.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 16, 2013
(AP) - Jerry Sandusky might have to testify in person if he wants to win back the pension he earned during three decades at Penn State University - and former FBI Director Louis Freeh could be called as a witness, as well. Sandusky, 69, lost his $4,900-a-month pension on Oct. 9, the day he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for sexual abuse of 10 boys. The forfeiture also made his wife, Dottie, ineligible for benefits. Sandusky appealed the revocation. The hearing examiner charged with handling the appeal wrote last month that his lawyers and the State Employees' Retirement System, or SERS, both may want the former Penn State assistant football coach to testify at a Jan. 7 hearing.
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OPINION
By GEORGE MICHAEL | August 2, 2013
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, the City of Detroit's appointed financial czar, recently announced the city was declaring bankruptcy. What happens in Detroit in the next few months will be very significant. Detroit is a microcosm of issues facing many of America's big cities. Detroit is the largest city to declare bankruptcy to this point. The obligations that the city cannot pay are about $19 billion. What are the reasons for Detroit's demise? Some have suggested that Detroit's economic woes result from the decline of the auto industry, loss of business enterprise and the flight of citizens to the suburbs or to other states.  But this is confusing cause and effect.
NEWS
By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com | May 14, 2013
Prior to passing its proposed 2013-14 fiscal year budgets Tuesday, the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved two measures to amend its employee pension program and institute a funding mechanism to allow the Washington County Sheriff's Office to hire four additional deputies. Currently, all full-time non-uniformed county employees pay 5.5 percent into their retirement, matched by a varying portion from the county, which is then paid out after a 30-year retirement. The employees then receive 60 percent of their annual salary over the life of the payments.
NEWS
By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com | February 4, 2013
Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox's proposed $254.4 million budget includes 10 contingency teaching positions, a lead teacher for a virtual high school project, and $828,000 in additional teacher pension costs as the state continues to pass along teacher pension costs to local governments, according to the proposed budget and school system spokesman Richard Wright. The proposed budget also includes $1.5 million toward new business software and calls for eliminating several Central Office positions due to reorganization and vacancies, according to the proposal and Wright.
OPINION
By TIM ROWLAND | timr@herald-mail.com | August 5, 2012
Somewhere, Del. Andy Serafini is coming to life. He does this - he has earned that right - every time there is more bad news about the Maryland pension fund. And there was bad news again this week, following reports that the fund had earned a meager 0.36 percent return in fiscal 2012, when the state had been counting on 7.75 percent. And don't bother with any jokes about buying Facebook stock, because the state reported that it was done in by its “international investments.” Oh no. Please don't tell me Maryland was long on ouzo.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | June 5, 2012
Facing a new $3 million tab for teacher pensions, the Washington County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday to cut $3.3 million from a county health department program that provides nurses in schools. County Administrator Gregory B. Murray offered two other choices to offset the $3 million - raising the property tax or tapering off payments to the county employee pension fund - but both were rejected by the five commissioners. The state has been paying the cost of public school teachers' pensions, but the Maryland General Assembly voted in a special session last month to start shifting that cost to the counties that employ the teachers.
NEWS
By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com | May 16, 2012
The Maryland General Assembly wrapped up a three-day special session Wednesday, approving a budget that will shift a portion of the state's share of teacher pension costs to local jurisdictions over four years, including Washington County. While county government and school officials are still working out the details of how much of the financial burden each will bear, the bill calls for Washington County to pay $3.1 million in teacher pension costs to the school system in the coming fiscal year, according to  Debra Murray, the county's budget and finance director.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | April 21, 2012
Washington County's state legislators pursued some lofty but unattainable goals this year, along with several more grounded ideas that succeeded. Sen. George C. Edwards and Del. John P. Donoghue each won a share of the state's capital budget for local projects. Sen. Ronald N. Young sponsored successful legislation to protect employees or job applicants from having to hand over their passwords to social media sites. After four failed tries, Sen. Christopher B. Shank amended his proposal to increase the penalty for fatal child abuse this year and it passed.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | April 10, 2012
A breakdown in the legislative budget-approval process on Monday night has frozen - if only temporarily - plans to shift teacher-pension costs from the state to Maryland's counties. The shift was expected to be phased in starting in the coming fiscal year, over the objections of counties upset about the additional costs. With time running out in this year's Maryland General Assembly session, the House of Delegates and the Senate reached a compromise on a budget-related bill containing the pension shift.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | March 22, 2012
An attempt by Del.John P. Donoghue on Thursday to shield Washington County from an expected shift in teacher-pension costs failed. During a House of Delegates debate on the state budget, Donoghue, D-Washington, offered an amendment to award the county $1,775,000 through a wealth-based grant program. That's the same amount the county is estimated to pay in fiscal 2013 because of a pension-shift effort, under the House's version of the proposed state budget. Donoghue's amendment on the House floor Thursday afternoon was defeated on a voice vote.
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