District 31 Del. Joan Cadden's name was omitted from a letter that ran in the May 20 issue of The Anne Arundel County Sun.
The delegate co-wrote the letter, which concerned the Marley Creek improvement project, with District 31 Dels. Charles Kolodziejski and W. Ray Huff.
From: Joseph Cosgrove
In response to the article in the Arundel County Sun on Friday, May 1, 1992 ["Council members cool to Neall layoff measure"], the County Council appeared reluctant to pass a bill requested by County Executive Robert Neall that would clear the way for laying off employees in the next few months. Mr. Neall has asked the council to clarify the layoff procedure, essentially prohibiting workers due to get the ax from bumping employees with less seniority in other departments and classifications.
Defenders of this bill say that it would be placing workers in other departments and classifications they could not handle.
When new employees are hired, they must be trained, so why not retrain your current work force?
They say management decisions, such as who works at what jobs, should be left up to the department heads. These so-called "heads" are the people who go to school and get a degree, then come in and expect to control the work force. Can they type 50 words a minute? Do they know electrical circuits? Do they know what a water line is? Have they ever opened a manhole? According to the "book" they have, but let them go out on the streets and try it.
Michael Milanowski, the county labor relations director, said that if the council fails to pass the measure, the county would likely consult with its attorneys and proceed anyway with the layoff procedures. Sounds like a dictatorship to me, instead of a democratic system, and I'm sure the American Federation of State and County Employees (AFSCME) has attorneys also.
As far as AFSCME is concerned, I am sure it is doing the best it can representing its dues-paying members. As a dedicated union person for over 30 years, my motto has always been, "United we stand, divided we fall."
We're all concerned about saving trees, saving fish and protecting wildlife -- but trees don't pay taxes, fish don't pay taxes and animals don't pay taxes. County employees pay taxes, and they vote.
And as far as subcontracting work out for services, I'd rather have a county employee serve me than some "rent-a-company."
In closing, remember, Mr. Neall, we're all working for the same four reasons, and that's breakfast, lunch, dinner and a mortgage payment.
Sheriff on the high road
From: Robert G. Pepersack Sr.
Sheriff, Anne Arundel County
Restive: According to Webster's Dictionary, this is defined as "stubbornly resisting control." In the latest soap-opera report -- via the media -- this was how I was described. They are right.
* Over 80 percent of the taxpayers of our county did not expect me to take over an abandoned and bankrupt Sheriff's Office, accept initial under-funding and simply roll over and play political wimp for the sake of furthering political causes and keeping "harmony in a political party."
* I was voted in by the people. I serve the people with honor. If
that is "restive" behavior, then maybe more politicians should put the people first. Then maybe the country would not be suffering from political-office-holders flu.
* The "bad behavior" of the sheriff -- as I've been called recently -- is not ill-mannered. I just will not be the county's political soccer ball for aspiring political players.
* Also, the under-funding issue of the Sheriff's Office -- by the admission of the County Council and the county administration -- now is being called a "comic gig" starring Bob Pepersack. Well, as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans.
I think the County Council and the county executive should win Emmys for the directing and producing talents in carrying on a single-issue situation -- under-funding -- into a weekly comic sitcom, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars for each show.
* The question that is long overdue is: Who really holds the Anne Arundel restive personality?
Let's look at the facts:
1. The entire dollar amount that the County Executive started this witch hunt over is one-tenth of one-tenth of 1 percent of the county budget.
2. Tiring of not "gaining control and rewriting the Constitution," the under-funding kudzu has been given to the County Council by the administration for behind-the-scenes directing. However, unfortunately, the "Low-Road Show" continues, regardless of who is directing.
3. It's time that everyone lays their budget, perks, salaries, and productivity on the table. Let's look at how much money the county's officials have spent -- and continue to spend -- on items such as expenditures on the Bay Bridge Walk. Or where, why, how many, and how much do hubcaps cost? The facts show, and the officials have been told, "The only hubcaps on a sheriff's office vehicle were donated."
My career has stayed on the high road. I am very inexperienced in traveling on the low road -- as we have faced for the past month. However, because of my mandate from an overwhelming majority of the good people of this county, I will continue to "stubbornly resist over under-funding and then be taken to the woodshed for speaking out."
I think the time has come for the County Council members and the county executive to join me on the high road and cost-effectively fund budgets and look at the productivity of each county office.
I'm ready. The people's Sheriff's Office has now rated as one of the best in the state. What about the rest of Anne Arundel government?
We're working on creek
From: W. Ray Huff
District 31 Delegates
We are writing in response to B. J. Poteet's letter printed in the Anne Arundel County Sun, Sunday, May 3, 1992. Many community leaders have been working to restore Marley Creek. It often takes several years to get this type of project done.
Marley Creek has never been ignored by your district representatives. We have numerous news articles and correspondence from the Army Corps of Engineers, The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Department the Environment. In fact, we have a lengthy report in front of us right now regarding Marley Creek, which we received April 1992.
The Corps of Engineers has been holding up the project, but through the efforts of Tom McMillen, a lot has recently been accomplished to help resolve the problems. There are certain areas the corps will not let us do, and the report has also recommended that the proposed dredging impacts be reduced by limiting the main channel width.
The Waterway Improvement Program Proposed Projects for FY 1993 included Marley Creek dredging. A matching funds grant for the project has been approved by the legislature this year. The state and county are under way with their dredging projects. Working on the revisions for the Marley Creek restoration is now proposed. The Marley Creek dredging project has been in the budget for many years.
The updated review/report is too long to print in the newspaper. However, if an association requests a copy, perhaps another could be made. The recommendations are too lengthy to provide each individual a copy.
Marley Creek residents have our continuing support in this worthwhile project, which we have never ignored. We have met on-site many times and have constantly approved funding for our district waterway improvements.
Taxes must be raised
From: W. Ray Huff
District 31 Delegate
Many people have asked me why I voted for the tax package that was proposed for the House of Delegates.
I stood on the House floor many times protesting some of the taxes that were proposed in this package. Since I was unable to get some of these proposed taxes eliminated from the package and because I did not want to see a "doomsday" budget take effect where the state and all of our citizens would suffer tremendously, I voted for two of the three tax bills.
People often ask me why the state needs more money. The state of Maryland is deteriorating due to the lack of tax money coming into the state. Seventy-five thousand jobs have been eliminated since this recession began. Those people pay about $2,000 a year per person in Maryland state taxes. When people are unemployed, the state's costs increase, not decrease.
In January 1987, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, compared with January 1992, when 7.3 percent of Maryland's population was unemployed. Some of the state's increased costs are due in part to the need for more Medicaid, prison and transportation assistance that these entities need to meet the demands of the Maryland citizens.
The latest figures reflect that 219,219 Maryland citizens are welfare recipients. The cost of Medicaid has also increased substantially.
In 1987, 341,529 people received Medicaid benefits to the tune of $904,855,337. The 1991 figures indicate that 40,000 more people were receiving Medicaid benefits totaling $1,480,741,199.
Maryland also needs to maintain our prison population which is, unfortunately, increasing. The Department of Fiscal Services for the state has estimated that 21,504 people will be incarcerated in Maryland in 1993. This is a 32.2 percent increase from the number of incarcerated people in 1990. This increase is due in part to the fact that the people ask for mandatory sentences for numerous crimes such as drug trafficking and driving under the influence. Therefore, these institutions' population has also increased.
Additional costs are being incurred by the state to construct items that were not environmentally necessary 10 years ago. For example, in the early 1980s, the state began constructing sound barriers throughout the state to help alleviate some of the state's noise problems. Approximately $70 million has been spent for the construction of these barriers. Before the last increase in the gas tax in 1987, Maryland had 14,317 lane miles of state roads. Today, Maryland has 15,239 lane miles of state roads. All these roads and bridges must be kept clean, maintained and repaired in order that Maryland keep current with the transportation needs of its citizens. In the 1992 budget, $1.5 billion has already been cut from the state's budget.
As a state, Maryland has so much to offer people. Top-quality transportation services such as our light rail system and well-maintained roads and parks are among Maryland's attractions. However, in order to provide these services and facilities for our citizens, we need money to keep our economy going.
Two sources of money Maryland uses to keep the economy going are the collection of sales and corporate taxes. The state collected $29,017,432 less in sales tax that was collected before the recession. A decrease of $32.2 million in the amount of corporate tax collected can also be seen.
Last year, few state vehicles were purchased, and every state bank account was "robbed," including the rainy day fund and the open space fund. If the doomsday budget had gone into effect, Maryland would have definitely lost its triple-A bond rating. This would have cost the state more in interest -- approximately $5 million more per year based on the bond market. Maryland also stood to lose $1.2 million in federal transportation funds.
However, by enacting the presently proposed budget, we will be putting 2,400 people back to work from the private sector. Putting people back to work is one of the most important things that needs to be done during a recession. I hope you will have a better understanding of why taxes had to be increased after looking at these figures showing the increase in costs to the state.
Standards for volunteers
From: Bonnie Conrad
In response to the letter from Harriet Heldenfels Yake, president of the Junior League of Annapolis, asking for adult volunteers to work with children, I ask:
What criterion is used by the Junior League of Annapolis to determine that a volunteer is emotionally, mentally, morally and educationally qualified to work with children?
Children are our country's most important asset! Too often, volunteer groups become so involved in the idea they are doing good for children. They tend to believe that a person, because that person is good enough to volunteer, is also good enough to work with children.
I've seen "bad" volunteers damage children the group is trying to help because the group is lax in testing, investigating, etc. volunteers to determine if the volunteer is truly qualified to work with children.
I'm not accusing the Junior League of being lax. I am simply asking to know what it, or any similar group, does to qualify its volunteers and thus protect the children it seeks to help.
Lighthizer saga continues
From: Stuart G. Morris
"The Lighthizer Years" (1982-1990) have ended in Anne Arundel County, but continue merrily on at the state level with the heavy pecuniary burden now borne by all of Maryland's taxpayers.
The shift began with Orville's [Lighthizer] appointment as transportation secretary, followed several hours later by the hiring of seven cronies at an annual tab of $569,376.
He is nothing if not generous in sharing the public purse.
Sometime later, following the Dontay Carter disaster at the Motor Vehicle Administration, Lighthizer said he would seek $20 million in the state's next capital budget for computers to check pictures and fingerprints of license applicants.
Since we are told that an employee issued a license to Carter for a reported $50 payoff, a far less-expensive screening system would be honest workers.
Doubtless feeling the need for a European vacation after all this fiscal activity, there followed Lighthizer, seven other Department Transportation [DOT] employees, plus two from Economic and Employment Development (thus avoiding the terrors of loneliness) to Holland, for the ostensible purpose of determining how Amsterdam's Schipol Airport and the port of Rotterdam work together.
L The taxpayers tab for this junket is said to exceed $14,000.
Are 10 people needed to figure out what the Dutch do well?
If so, may we inquire how many are involved in changing a light bulb at the Maryland DOT offices?
Then, on May 1, we were socked with an extra 5 cents per gallon of gasoline, courtesy of Messrs. Lighthizer and Schaefer.
Rumor has it that they were upset that gasoline prices had fallen below $1 per gallon.
And yet, in this shifting and uncertain world, it is comforting to know that one thing is changeless:
That Orville James Lighthizer will continue to fully exploit the public purse.
Who could ask for anything more?
We all know the answer to that one!