Schaefer to veto early-out bill
Gov. William Donald Schaefer has decided to veto an 'D early-retirement bill passed by the General Assembly, saying it would not save as much money as expected and would make it harder for state agencies to function if the state was barred from filling some of the jobs that would be vacated.
The decision, while expected, came as a blow to state employees and their unions, who saw the early-retirement offer to nearly 3,000 veteran state employees as one of the few good things to come their way in several years.
The bill would have given employees who are 50 or older and with at least 25 years of state service the opportunity to retire this summer and claim a 17 percent increase in their benefits as an incentive.
"This is sort of a slap in the face," said Joseph Cook, director of special projects for Council 92 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which planned a rally in support of the bill at the state government complex in Baltimore today.
To save the state money, the bill would have prohibited the governor from filling 60 percent of the early-retirement vacancies, a restriction Mr. Schaefer found too inflexible, said David S. Iannucci, his chief legislative officer.
Instead, Mr. Schaefer will be required to keep the budget in balance by trimming government spending in fiscal 1993 by at least $17.5 million through the elimination of 600 or more state jobs. A plan to do that must be prepared by June 1.
Students at Chinquapin Middle School in Northeast Baltimore yesterday donated $215 to Bea Gaddy, an advocate for the city's homeless people.
Nearly 200 students raised the money by selling Mother's Day flowers. Ms. Gaddy yesterday visited the school at 900 Woodbourne Ave., accepted the money and thanked the students.
Jackie Neckrich, a speech and language pathologist, and Linda Powell, a special education teacher, organized the fund-raising effort. Ms. Neckrich said the money was donated to Ms. Gaddy "because she is known throughout the city and we wanted the money to go to the homeless."
Anne Arundel County:
Developers of a 722-home planned unit development (PUD) proposed in Gambrills can't proceed with the community, the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals has ruled.
The board yesterday denied the approval needed to build Crofton Farms, a mix of townhouses, apartments and single-family homes on 221 acres off Waugh Chapel Road near (( Md. 3.
In denying the required special exception, the six board members said they could not determine whether the development would meet standards for roads, schools and sewer service.
The board disagreed with county planning and zoning officials, who favored the planned community. Planners had said it wasn't necessary for developers to meet those standards this early in the planning process.
The decision was a victory for opponents, who appealed an administrative hearing officer's March 1991 approval of the project. Neighbors complained that the development would be incompatible with the rural area.
Members of the St. Stephen's Church Road Civic Association, the Tanager Forest Civic Association and the Crofton Civic Association had argued that the county should stop developers from building a high-density project and require them to follow 1989 regulations enacted during comprehensive rezoning.
Developers, though, had countered that they could build just as many homes under current zoning regulations. They said a special exception for a PUD would allow developers to work together over five to seven years on a cohesive project, including a school and a baseball field.
Ernest J. Litty of Leimbach Development Inc., of Glen Burnie, the project's developer along with Halle Cos., the Silver Spring developer of Seven Oaks in Odenton, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The developers can appeal the board's decision to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
Less than 24 hours into his new job as sewer operator in Union Bridge, Fred Haifley was introduced to the intricacies of extricating underwear from the town pumps.
"He got his first pair of panties and about five hours of overtime," said Town Clerk Kathleen D. Kreimer. "A most unpleasant job."
During a routine check Saturday, Mr. Haifley found the system backing up. The operator donned hip boots and waded into the blockage, eventually freeing the bound pump.
As regularly as once a week, a resident flushes a pair of size 36 men's white cotton briefs into the system, Ms. Kreimer said. The elastic waistband wraps around a rod inside the pump. Within minutes, the system no longer flows smoothly.
Mr. Haifley said he might assign an investigative agent to sniff out the culprit. He said he was able to maintain his sense of humor throughout his initiation.
"Humor affirms our dignity, even when circumstances underwear he said.
Come 7 p.m. Friday in Columbia, drums are scheduled to be throbbing, high school marching bands stepping and politicians waving in a parade to celebrate Columbia's 25th anniversary.
The Columbia Association and the Rouse Co. are co-sponsoring the parade, which kicks off events celebrating the anniversary.
The "Silver Celebration Parade" begins at 7 p.m. at Sterrett Place. The parade, less than a mile long, will then head south on Little Patuxent Parkway. It will turn right at Ring Road and end on the upper parking deck of the Mall in Columbia.
More than 800 soccer players from the U.S., Canada and Spain will march in the parade. The athletes will be in town for the 17th Annual Columbia Invitational Soccer Tournament.
Girl Scouts, clowns, a stilt walker, floats, and antique and hot-rod cars also will participate in the parade, said Irene B. Knox, the parade coordinator. She said if it rains, the parade will be canceled.