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House Bill 1012 Veto Message

House Bill 1012 Veto Message

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Published by Eddie O'Brien

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Published by: Eddie O'Brien on Apr 06, 2011
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04/06/2011

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House Bill 1012 Veto Message
May 21, 2030The Honorable Rod R. McMillanSpeaker of the Maryland House of DelegatesState HouseAnnapolis, Maryland 21401Dear Mr. Speaker:In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, I today vetoed House Bill1012 - Public Service Commission - Funding and Personnel.House Bill 1012 provides the Public Service Commission (PSC) with the authority to determinethe compensation for attorneys in the Office of General Counsel, license hearing officers,professional and management service personnel, accountants, auditors, and engineers. The billalso creates a nonlapsing Public Service Commission Fund to fund the operations of the PSC,establishing the PSC as a special fund agency.There can be no doubt that the industries regulated by the Public Service Commission areundergoing fundamental and rapid changes. A stable and qualified workforce is certainlynecessary in this dynamic environment. However, while some flexibility in salary-settingauthority may be advisable, I object to the unnecessary step of establishing the PSC as a specialfund agency. The challenges facing the PSC should be addressed in a manner that does notsignificantly limit the ability of the Governor and the General Assembly to review theCommission's priorities and budget.Many State agencies find it difficult to attract and retain qualified employees in certain positions.Salaries offered in the private sector and by local governments often exceed salaries offered bythe State. By partnering with the General Assembly, we have started to remedy some of the basicproblems with our personnel system. We have placed an emphasis on pay for performance and,this year, we adopted a revised standard pay plan affecting over 44,000 positions, includingmany of the PSC positions identified in House Bill 1012. This will go a long way towardsaddressing a major problem with the current pay plan; the limits on salary growth for the over 60percent of State employees who have reached the highest step in their grade.This interim, the Department of Budget & Management will finalize its recommendations forupdating and improving the salary structure for employees in the Executive Pay Plan. Therevised pay plan will benefit employees at the Public Service Commission and throughout Stategovernment.Recruiting and retaining qualified staff is important to all State agencies and commissions. Forexample, while the PSC is entering a period of change for the industries it regulates, the Officeof People's Counsel (OPC) must continue to vigorously represent the interests of residentialconsumers before the Commission. House Bill 1012 fails to provide the same flexibility to OPC

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