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The Baltimore Sun

Government, union miss contract deadline

The Baltimore County government and the union representing its civilian workers failed to reach a labor agreement yesterday, the deadline for signing a deal.

The 1,700 members of the county chapter of the Federation of Public Employees will operate under the current contract for another year, bypassing proposed pay raises and a change in the retirement benefits that some leaders had resisted.

George E. Gay, the county's labor commissioner, said the union turned down an offer that would have guaranteed a universal cost-of-living increase of 3 percent and additional raises as high as 10 percent for more than half of the union's members.

"It was a deal you shouldn't have walked away from," Gay said in an interview after nearly eight hours of negotiations.

Union spokesman Terence Cooper said the union wanted guaranteed pay raises on top of the cost-of-living increase for all members.

"Our feeling was that you're treating some employees better than others," Cooper said. "To give the correctional officers what appeared to be a rather generous increase and say there would be nothing for other workers was less than fair."

Jim Clark, a former president of the county union who served on its negotiating committee, said he supported the county's proposal and that most members would have endorsed the offer had they been allowed to vote.

"I think it's a failure on the union's part," Clark said. The county's offer would have been "the best agreement we've had in years," excluding a proposed change in the retirement plan, he said.

Before yesterday, union leaders had resisted a change that would have forced employees with less than 30 years' service to work until age 65, instead of 60, to receive full retirement benefits. Gay and Cooper said the change was not the central disagreement at the end of yesterday's discussions. The two sides do not expect to negotiate again until they discuss a new contract in a year.

The county reached a deal with the local chapter of the Federation of Public Health Nurses, representing more than 90 county employees, that will raise their starting salaries about 17 percent, officials said.

Josh Mitchell


Body identified as that of woman, 83

Police identified yesterday the woman whose remains were found last month in a wooded area of Randallstown.

Nevolia Olet Duvall, 83, had been missing since mid-September, police said yesterday.

Police said they did not know how Duvall, of the 2600 block of Spelman Road in Baltimore, reached Baltimore County. Her body was found March 28 in a narrow strip of woods between homes in the Randallstown area, county police said.

It was unclear how Duvall died, police said.

Also yesterday, county police identified as Shellie Jean Joyner, 52, the woman found dead after a fire March 30 in Woodlawn.

The electrical fire apparently started accidentally in the kitchen of the woman's middle-of-group townhouse in the 3900 block of Queens Lace St., fire officials said.

Nick Shields


Goucher student struck by car dies

A Goucher College student died after being struck by a car this week in Towson, police said yesterday.

Dana V. Flax, of Ada, Ohio, was struck by a 1996 Honda Civic as she attempted to cross the street at Fairmount Avenue and Goucher Boulevard shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, county police said.

Flax was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was pronounced dead about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, county police said.

Police said the investigation is continuing and that no charges have been filed. The cause of the accident appears to have been pedestrian error, they said.

Nick Shields

After-prom events

Alcohol-, drug-free activities planned

The Baltimore County Health Department has awarded more than $90,000 to Baltimore County schools to support efforts to host alcohol and drug-free after-prom activities.

Contributions from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration and the State and County Licensed Beverage Association made the funding possible, said Dr. Pierre N. Vigilance, the county health officer.

Three private and 23 public schools will use the money. More than 7,000 high school students attended after-prom activities last year.

Sign language

Classes to be offered starting Tuesday

The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, Office of Therapeutic Recreation Services, will offer basic sign language classes for adults and children ages 6 and older.

Classes will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, starting next week, in the cafeteria at the Loch Raven Recreation Center, 1801 Glen Keith Blvd. Classes will meet for eight weeks.

The cost is $25 per person or $45 per family.

Information and registration: 410-887-5370 (voice), 410-887-5372 (fax) or 410-887-5319 (TT/deaf).


TV segment to focus on victims' rights

The latest program of Police Report, the Baltimore County Police Department's cable TV program, will include a segment on victims' rights.

Officer Sheila Tome of the Youth and Community Resources Section, will talk about events planned for National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 22-28. The second segment will focus on ballistics and the way experts in the crime lab study bullets.

The program is aired four times a week on Comcast Channel 25. It airs at 8:30 p.m. Monday, 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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