Hogan’s Good Grades Don’t Include Education

By Peta Richkus. Governor Hogan has provided some notable leadership during this coronavirus crisis. But the failures of his agencies, including the MD State Department of Education (MSDE), are also Larry Hogan’s responsibility. State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon, who had announced in December 2019 her plans to step down in June, seems to be in over her head. Never mind that tens of thousands … Continue reading Hogan’s Good Grades Don’t Include Education

State Retirees’ Rx Drug Benefit Redux

By Peta Richkus. Older retirees from State service remain in a hellacious limbo about their futures. Thanks only to a federal court injunction, and the handful of employees and their attorney who filed for it (Thank you, Ken Fitch, Deborah Heim, Mary Frye, and Deborah Holloway Hill, Esq.), Medicare-eligible State retirees continue to receive their prescription drug benefit. But for how long? Unfortunately, many legislators, … Continue reading State Retirees’ Rx Drug Benefit Redux

Time is of the Essence for Retirement-Eligible State Employees

By Peta Richkus. Subsequent to publication of Ms. Richkus’  Commentary in Maryland Matters and The Daily Record, the MD State Retirement Agency (SRA) removed all reference to SB 946 from its web page (a Search for “SB 946” currently yields no results). The Department of Budget & Management (DBM) link to expanded SB 946 information can be found at the top of the DBM Home page. … Continue reading Time is of the Essence for Retirement-Eligible State Employees

Chairman Quirk is Missing the Point about Sage Policy Group

By Peta Richkus. This article is a response to the August 7, 2019 Letter to the Editor written by Tom Quirk, Chair of the Baltimore County Council. Since my testimony before the Baltimore County Council during their June 25, 2019 Work Session prompted Council deliberation about the proposed Sage Policy Group contract referred to by Council Chairman Quirk (“Some Baltimore County Council members are questioning … Continue reading Chairman Quirk is Missing the Point about Sage Policy Group

Time for a New Baltimore County Economic Analyst?

By Peta Richkus. Editor’s note: We are pleased to publish testimony presented by Ms. Richkus to the Baltimore County Council during their June 25, 2019 Work Session concerning the proposed contract award: Agenda Item FM-17, Economic Consultant to the County Council. The proposed award would be a Sole Source contract to Sage Policy Group, Anirban Basu, Chairman and CEO. The contract award will be voted … Continue reading Time for a New Baltimore County Economic Analyst?

Plan to Rob State Retirees of Prescription Drug Benefit on Hold; Next Steps?

Fact: The State had a contract with its employees; the terms of the contract, including the scope of the work (the job description) and the compensation (salary and benefits), were agreed to by both parties. The State has violated that contract. Fact: 40% of the cost of retirees’ prescription drug plan is paid for by the retirees themselves plus federal funds paid to the State. … Continue reading Plan to Rob State Retirees of Prescription Drug Benefit on Hold; Next Steps?

Executive’s Budget Paves Way for Better, Stronger Baltimore County

By Peta Richkus. Tuesday evening, April 30,2019, the hearing on the budget proposed by County Executive John Olszewski was held in the Council chambers in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Residents were invited to testify, and the “sign-up sheet” filled five pages. Over the next two weeks, County agency budgets will be reviewed. All of the budget meetings are open to the public. Budget deliberations … Continue reading Executive’s Budget Paves Way for Better, Stronger Baltimore County

Last Chance Missed to Rectify State Retiree Drug Benefit Theft?

by Peta Richkus. Editor’s note: This piece is a follow-up to our earlier post “Don’t Use Inaccuracies to Sell A Bad State Retiree Drug Plan,” which was an open letter from Peta Richkus outlining how data was being used inaccurately to justify changes to prescription drug coverage from the State’s Medicare-eligible retired employees. The State Senate and House subsequently passed a bill (“SB946”) that did … Continue reading Last Chance Missed to Rectify State Retiree Drug Benefit Theft?

Don’t Use Inaccuracies to Sell A Bad State Retiree Drug Plan

by Peta Richkus. Note from editors: What if you retired from your job with the State of Maryland with all your retirement ducks in a row, only to learn later that your drug prescription benefits were being taken away? Benefits that were negotiated in good faith? This menacing scenario is not a “what if” after all, but a saga playing out over the last eight … Continue reading Don’t Use Inaccuracies to Sell A Bad State Retiree Drug Plan