ANNAPOLIS -- The Anne Arundel County Council reluctantly agreed last night to bail out Sheriff Robert G. Pepersack -- but not before calling him a poor manager who could use some on-the-job training.
"He definitely needs to take some kind of management course to run his department and stay within a budget," said Councilman Carl Holland, who co-sponsored legislation to transfer $125,000 to keep the sheriff in business.
Sheriff Pepersack said he would have to study the figures more closely to determine whether the sum is sufficient. He had told the council he needed $184,700 to meet expenses until June 30.
He was not at the council session, saying his attendance at an awards ceremony for his deputies "was more important than anything the council had to say."
The 5-2 vote came after the council was told by attorneys that if it did not pay the sheriff's expenses, he could win a court decision to cover them.
"He has been extremely insulting to this body and I take great exception to it, but I think he has us over a barrel on this," said Councilwoman Maureen Lamb.
Sheriff Pepersack said he kept county officials informed of his expenses with memos each month detailing an increasing workload providing courthouse security and serving subpoenas. He said his problems began in February when County Executive Robert R. Neall sought legislation to make the sheriff's office subservient to the executive.
"The county's definition of 'out of control' is anyone they can't control," Sheriff Pepersack said. "What they dislike is that they finally have a sheriff who can read the law."