From: Carole Fisher
Does County Executive Charles Ecker see the irony in announcing the layoff of 200 county employees due to the budget crisis and filling a political patronage job on his staff in the same week?
Is thisthe kind of essential services he wants to protect?
Howard Countytaxpayers will be paying Gail Bates an annual part-time salary of $24,820 to find Republicans for boards and commissions, normally the job of the party central committee.
She may find a number of qualified people with time on their hands in the ranks of those soon to be unemployed.
My idea of essential services would be police and fire protection, maintaining the county roads and educating our children.
Public relations and political cronyism are not essential.
Withthe county facing an $18 million deficit and cuts of $18 million in next year's budget, Mr. Ecker should be showing leadership by findingways to maintain our services, not paying back his political debts.
Editor's note: Gail Bates is employed three days a week as an assistant to the county executive.
A CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
From: Lois R.Seidler
Since the Howard County budget deficit is decreasing services to the elderly, I am writing to ask county residentsto sincerely consider beginning or increasing their volunteer activities to the elderly.
Transportation is one of the services being affected, both by
doubling the cost of using URTA and a decrease intrips available.
This further isolates the elderly, particularly those who are losing their sight as they age.
The Spring Insighters are a group of people who have become vision-impaired and have formed a self-support group at the Florence Bain Senior Center.
The members would enjoy a weekly visitor at their homes -- bringing the community to them, now that it will be more difficult for them to get out into the community.
I currently am visiting some of the members and find it both fun and personally rewarding.
If you have two free hours during the day and would enjoy this type of activity, please call Arlene Kvech at 313-7213.
Training will be provided. Other volunteer activities for the elderly are also available.