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Cites Modern Facility with Top-Performing Employees and Superior Results

County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. reached out to the head of General Motors (GM) to emphasize the value of the state-of-the-art White Marsh manufacturing facility, both to GM and to the Baltimore region. In a letter sent yesterday afternoon, he called on GM Chairman and CEO Mary Teresa Barra to find a product or alternate use for the plant that will keep all of its 300 high-performing employees working.

“We know that Eastern Baltimore County is one of the most competitive areas for manufacturing on the East Coast with our highly skilled workforce and proximity to transportation networks,” Olszewski said. “I wanted to make sure that the leadership at GM understands the importance and value of this facility to their bottom line and to Baltimore County.” 

The full text of his letter is below:

                                        December 11, 2018

Ms. Mary Teresa Barra

Chairman and CEO

General Motors Company

300 Renaissance Center

Detroit, Michigan 48243

Dear Ms. Barra,

As the newly-elected County Executive of Baltimore County, I was shocked to learn about General Motors’ (GM) decision to cease production at GM’s White Marsh facility. This facility has been an anchor and source of pride within our County since it opened in 2000.  The facility’s importance to the region became even more significant upon the opening of the $245 million electric motor facility in 2012. Hundreds of millions of federal, state, and local dollars have been invested since its opening and it has been lauded as a “state of the art” facility that embodied American resiliency in the wake of the great recession.

As you know, our region has strong and deep roots in manufacturing. Our proximity to major highway and rail networks and the Port of Baltimore has made eastern Baltimore County one of the most significant areas for logistics and manufacturing – and we continue to remain competitive. We attract talented and qualified workers and have demonstrated our commitment to embracing 21st century workforce solutions through bolstering trades, job training and workforce development. And we will continue to do so.

Therefore I respectfully request that GM find a product or alternative use for the plant that will keep all 300 of those employees working in Baltimore County. I understand that according to GM’s own corporate metrics, the employees at White Marsh are among the top performers across the entire company. Furthermore, I understand these employees have had very few grievances with GM management. The facility is both modern and effective, and I know these hard-working men and women remain committed to achieving high performance standards.

If GM does not reverse the decision to cease production in White Marsh, we must work collectively with our state and federal partners to do everything we can for the employees and families impacted.  As such, I have asked my team to immediately engage with local GM and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 239 in an effort to protect the career-paths of affected GM workers. At my direction, Baltimore County’s Department of Workforce and Economic Development will serve as the central agency responsible for communications, coordination with area employers interested in recruiting GM workers, and hosting career fairs.  We will also offer workshops and direct career counseling, assist with resume development, interview preparation, and other unemployment essentials.

Earlier this week, a team of economic and workforce development professionals from my administration met with GM’s human resource manager, Erin Spitzer, to discuss collaboration on these efforts. I have every confidence that we will continue to have GM’s cooperation and partnership in these efforts. 

While we are bracing for a possible closure, I would like to reiterate my strong request to maintain operations at the White Marsh facility. As soon as possible, I invite you and/or members of your senior leadership team to join me in a tour of the White Marsh operation to observe the world-class operation there firsthand. I am available to discuss this matter at your convenience. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

John Olszewski, Jr.

County Executive

cc:

Eric Shelhorn, Plant Manager, GM White Marsh

Erin Spitzer, HR Manager, GM White Marsh

John Blanchard, Director of Local Government Relations, GM

Will Anderson, Director of Economic & Workforce Development, Baltimore County

Mike Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce

The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., Governor of Maryland

The Honorable Katherine Klausmeier, Senate of Maryland District 8

The Honorable Eric Bromwell, Maryland House of Delegates District 8

The Honorable Joe Cluster, Maryland House of Delegates District 8

The Honorable Christian Miele, Maryland House of Delegates District 8

The Honorable Cathy Bevins, Baltimore County Council District 6

Harry Bhandari, Delegate-Elect, District 8

Joseph Boteler, Delegate-Elect, District 8


Show Airs on Cable Channel 25 and Online

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” offers an overview of the County’s winter storm response, resources for people who need help paying energy bills and a quick life-saving CPR demonstration.

Winter Storm Response – Learn all about the County’s winter storm operations and how you can help.

CPR is Easier than Ever! – No more complicated counting or breaths… find out how hands-only CPR and automatic defibrillators make saving a life simpler than ever.

Need Help Paying Your Energy Bills? – Find out about assistance available through the Baltimore County Office of Home Energy Programs.

You can also view the show on the County website’s Hello Baltimore County page. In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25 in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.

Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.


Retains Many in Key Leadership Positions

County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. announced today that he plans to retain a significant number of current County officials as members of his government leadership team. He has nominated the following individuals to serve as County department and office heads, subject to confirmation by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the County Council:

  • Laura D. Riley, Director, Department of Aging (currently serves as Deputy Director)
  • Keith A. Dorsey, Director, Office of Budget and Finance
  • Gail M. Watts, Director, Department of Corrections
  • Michael E. Field, County Attorney
  • William G. Anderson, Director, Department of Economic and Workforce Development
  • Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., Director, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Services and Health Officer
  • Robert W. O'Connor, Director, Office of Information Technology
  • Terrence B. Sheridan, Chief, Police Department
  • Steven A. Walsh, PE, Director, Department of Public Works
  • Barry F. Williams, Director, Department of Recreation and Parks

In addition, Olszewski announced that he has nominated David Lykens to serve as Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, where Lykens currently serves as Deputy Director.

 “These individuals have been on the front lines of serving county residents, and they are well-qualified to help us build a better Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “As we work together to make Baltimore County more innovative, transparent and responsive to county residents, they will be empowered to lead change and modernize our government.”

Police Chief Transition

Chief Sheridan has announced that he plans to retire in six months. He will remain on the job while the County conducts a national search for his successor. Sheridan has served a total of 13 years as the County’s police chief from January 2017 to the present, and previously from 1996 to 2007. He served as Maryland State Police Superintendent from 2007 to 2011, and prior to his role as County Police Chief, he served in the Maryland State Police for 30 years.

“Chief Sheridan is a first-class public safety professional who is well-respected by his officers and the community,” said Olszewski. “We are very grateful for his service and that he has agreed to continue in his role as we take the time to select someone to replace him who will maintain the same high standards of service to our constituents and will achieve the consistently positive results we have come to expect in Baltimore County."

Dori Henry to Serve as Director of Communications

Olszewski also named Dori Henry to lead his Office of Communications, which will play an integral role in his efforts to expand government transparency and foster open communication and collaborative decision-making with residents and other stakeholders. She will begin on December 17.

Henry now serves as Communications Director for the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. Previous positions include Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor and Director of Communications at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, now known as the Maryland Department of Health. She worked in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as a special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General, and has been a speechwriter and a reporter covering the Maryland General Assembly. She has a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017