This recession demands that people in government confront reality, prevailing thought says. A couple of recent cases involving the Baltimore County schools, however, indicate an unwillingness to acknowledge reality, much less confront it.
In one case, the president of the county teachers' union was livid over the superintendent's plans to furlough all employees for four or five days. Virtually every jurisdiction in the region, weakened by state government budget cuts and less local tax revenue, has had to impose furloughs. Baltimore County Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel, in fact, held out for months in the hope something would save his employees from the furloughs begun by other Baltimore County workers. With another state cut pending and tax revenues still down, Dr. Dubel felt he could hold out no longer.
"Just because Dr. Dubel gave up, doesn't mean I have," said an embittered Ed Veit, president of the Baltimore County Teachers Association. "When school opens again in September, things will never be the same." No one wants a pay cut, but the point is, Baltimore County, and its school administration in particular, held out much longer than most of their neighbors in inflicting budget pain on workers. Saber-rattling is pointless.