Pepersack Summoned By Angry Council

April 23, 1992|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

Sheriff Robert Pepersack was subpoenaed yesterday to appear before the County Council. He said he accepted the document "like a gentleman."

"I'm going to frame it," the sheriff said. "It's a historic document."

The council, angry and offended, voted Monday to subpoena the sheriff after he walked out of a hearing on his budget. It is the first time the council has used its subpoena power in 28 years of charter government.

County Attorney Judson P. Garrett served Pepersack withthe summons. He said he spent about 1 1/2 hours talking to the sheriff. "It went very well," he said.

Pepersack agreed: "There really are no enemies in this. The conflict here is not a conflict between Bobby Neall and Bob Pepersack. It's a conflict between the sheriff andcounty government."

Because the sheriff is an elected official, Pepersack believes, the county executive has no ultimate control over the sheriff's office budget, even though the executive is responsiblefor all county spending.

Pepersack says he is over budget now, for the second straight year, because the county did not give him enough money to run his office.

The sheriff's office provides courtroomsecurity, transports prisoners and serves legal papers.

Pepersackappeared Monday before the council to answer questions about his request for a last-minute transfer of $184,700 to his office, but he left when Council Chairman David G. Boschert, a Crownsville Democrat, postponed the hearing until later in the evening.

When the hearing came up at 11:30 p.m. and the sheriff wasn't there, Boschert said he was "appalled," and accused Pepersack of "not being man enough" to discuss his budget.

Pepersack said he didn't know he had to be present and was peeved that the council delayed his hearing. He said he'll appear, as ordered, before the council at 1:30 p.m. May 4 to answer questions.

He has said he needs at least $140,000 to keep his office running through June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

"Technically, the council cannot subpoena me and they cannot hold me in contemptbecause I am a state constitutional officer," he said yesterday.

"But I accepted the (subpoena) as a gentleman."

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