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Taxpayers get soaked by Pugh's exit strategy

A long time ago, Plato and Aristotle wrote about a possible flaw in the make-up of republics – the creation of the career politician. In a system of government where people have the ability to choose their leaders, name recognition and a sense of comfort are a few of the reasons behind the rise of the career politicians. The founders of this country never dreamed a person would serve more than a few years. The thought was public service was a necessary requirement of citizenship, not a profession or a lifestyle and definitely not one where your would earn a retirement pension.

It is the issue of taxpayer-funded pensions which has helped to prolong the current situation of Catherine Pugh and her stepping down from her role as mayor of Baltimore (“Acting Baltimore Mayor Young fires 3 aides to Mayor Catherine Pugh,” April 24). Ms. Pugh’s political career includes five years on the Baltimore City Council as well as 11 years in the Maryland General Assembly. With a unanimous call for her removal from the Baltimore City Council, the public vote of no confidence from the Greater Baltimore Committee and a statement of support for Ms. Pugh’s resignation by Baltimore City’s House delegation, a return back to City Hall would prove to be very difficult in terms of effective governing.

Ms. Pugh is taking the taxpayers of Maryland for a ride. According to The Baltimore Sun, she is still being paid a salary while she is not fulfilling her mayoral duties for the past three weeks. Ms. Pugh’s prolonged exit strategy, in my view, is two-fold: putting together a plea deal to keep herself out of jail and to make sure she receives her pension so she can continue to take money from the people of Maryland.

Baltimore’s mayors have become masters of the exit strategy. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is thinking about running again for the post, was able to keep $83,000 a year in spite of her pleading guilty on perjury charges nine years ago. Perhaps Ms. Pugh thinks a similar outcome can happen for her. Time will tell.

Tony Campbell, Towson

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