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."
Council's 5-2 vote came after two stormy council sessions involving the Republican sheriff.
The sheriff showed up at a council session April 20, with a squad of uniformed deputies on hand, only to walk out when the council left them cooling their heels while they attended to other matters.
Council issued a subpoena the next day, ordering the sheriff to appear.
When he came May 4, council members grilled him for 90 minutes about expenses ranging from costs for his office stationery to the funding for three sets of hubcaps.
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.
Sheriff Pepersack said he kept county officials informed of his expenses 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.