Dubel himself should take the first cutAs chairman of the...

the Forum

November 04, 1991

Dubel himself should take the first cut

As chairman of the Baltimore County Senate delegation, I want to express senators' outrage at the deplorable tactics used by county school Superintendent Robert Dubel to mislead principals, teachers, parents and children regarding the $3.1 million the legislature voted to cut from the county's education budget.

Dr. Dubel fails to inform that the cuts cannot be used to reduce the number of teachers or the quantity of instructional material or equipment. He also fails to relate that the cuts apply to this fiscal year only.

What I question is Dr. Dubel's use of education funds to provide himself and his large administration with perks and privileges which soak up money better spent in the classroom. I am certain these perks and privileges cut into the county's $490 million education budget more deeply than the 0.6 percent cut approved by the legislature.

Dr. Dubel has siphoned off funds from education funds to provide his administrators and his department chairmen with 12 months' employment. His administrators enjoy out-of-state travel, air-conditioned offices and cars which they are allowed to take home. Dr. Dubel's agency is the only county agency to employ a lobbyist in Annapolis. And although I cannot comprehend the need for it, Dr. Dubel approves the employment of three vice principals for every high school in the county.

While these education funds are being spent to keep the bureaucracy overindulged and happy, for the past several years school roofs all over the county have been leaking to the extent that buckets must be used to catch the rain.

These are hard times. We face a deepening recession from which we will not experience any relief until well into 1993. Before it's over, all of us will have to pull in our belts a notch or two. We in the legislature are in the process of approving cuts to our budget, salaries and travel to help alleviate the current fiscal crisis. We want to know when Dr. Dubel will take the first self-imposed cut from his bloated budget to free up funds to better educate our children.

Thomas L. Bromwell

The writer is the state senator from the 8th District.

In compliance

The recent report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on municipal sewage treatment in Maryland and Tim Wheeler's article, "Sewage plants blamed for pollution excess" (Oct. 17), both miss the mark.

The Maryland Department of the Environment, like most other environmental agencies in the nation, measures sewage treatment plant compliance using national standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We are proud to say that, using EPA standards, 100 percent of Maryland's major municipal plants are complying with environmental regulations.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Evening Sun would lead Marylanders to believe that little progress has been made in cleaning up sewage treatment plants. Using a compliance formula of its own device, and two-year-old data, CBF paints a grim picture of compliance rates in Maryland. Environmental groups will always push government to adopt tougher regulations, and our definitions of "compliance" may never completely agree.

However, even CBF would have a tough time arguing the bottom line: less pollutants are being discharged from major sewage treatment plants today than in 1985. Wastewater treatment plants in Maryland are operating more efficiently and meeting more stringent discharge requirements every year.

The 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement called for a 40 percent reduction in the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen discharged from sewage treatment plants by the year 2000. Maryland had already met the goal for phosphorus from point source discharges through a ban on phosphate detergents and phosphorus removal programs at sewage treatment plants. Phosphorus discharges to the bay from municipal and industrial treatment plants are down 41 percent from 1985 levels.

Maryland is right on schedule to meet the point source nitrogen reduction goal as well. MDE has documented a 13 percent decrease in nitrogen discharged from sewage treatment plants. Several other facilities ` including the massive Back River plant - are currently installing nitrogen removal technology.

These reductions represent measurable progress in cleaning up discharges. I believe this is the real point. We should be cooperating to provide the public with accurate pictures of

progress rather than arguing over definitions.

Robert Perciasepe

The writer is secretary of the state Department of the Environment.

No to Question L

I must disagree with The Evening Sun's endorsement on Oct 17 of the Republican-sponsored Question L, which would approve single-member City Council districts.

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