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"Jim Johnson served this county faithfully and honorably for 38 years, and we are grateful for his service. However, at this time we choose to go in a different direction, and I wish Chief Johnson well," County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement.

Thanks to the Sun Investigates article,"Ex-chief still on Baltimore County payroll" (March 15), we learn that former top cop Jim Johnson will continue receiving pay for February and March although he retired at the end of January. This "in gratitude for, and in honor of, his decades of service," says a county spokesperson.

A look back at the news reveals that County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Mr. Johnson's retirement shortly after the county police came under scrutiny for the very high incidence of rape reports deemed unworthy of investigation (34 percent as opposed to the national average of 7 percent). Much rape kit evidence had been destroyed.

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County Executive Kamanetz should stand before the microphones on this one. With a tight county budget, why should Mr. Johnson receive nearly $46,000 more than he actually earned — beyond the handsome severance package of $117,000 which he is due — and that beyond the county pension checks he'll get from now on.

Some County Council members, supposedly taken aback by this latest disclosure, have questioned Mr. Kamanetz's thinking on this handout. This decision cannot stand. Can the payout be rescinded? If not, the council needs at least to censure the executive to show it is watching — and that taxpayer money must no longer be squandered in this way.

Bruce Knauff, Towson

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