Lawyers offer to give up pay

January 30, 1992|By Larry Carson

An offer from the two lawyers in Baltimore County's People's Counsel office to surrender a combined $13,000 in salary next year has prompted County Executive Roger B. Hayden to relent and leave intact the position of deputy people's counsel.

The decision appears to defuse what had become a hot controversy among community groups over one of Mr. Hayden's smallest budget cuts, first proposed last spring. Because of the furor, he delayed the cut until Dec. 31 and then again until March 31.

To save $12,000, Mr. Hayden proposed replacing Deputy People's Counsel Peter Max Zimmerman with a lower-paid paralegal. That raised a firestorm of protest among civic leaders, who see the independent office as their strongest ally in their battles against development.

Had the cut been carried out, Mr. Zimmerman would have continued working for the county, but in the Office of Law.

In a 1974 referendum, voters created the People's Counsel office to be a public advocate, to defend the county's zoning maps and to fight proposed developments seen as harming established communities.

Phyllis C. Friedman, People's Counsel since 1984, volunteered to give up $8,000 of her $50,445 salary, while Mr. Zimmerman would lose $5,000 from his $36,377 pay.

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