Sheriff, executive agree to end funding feud Pepersack to restrict spending

Neall gives back chief deputy

January 29, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Sheriff Robert Pepersack and County Executive Robert R. Neall appear ready to end their feud over the sheriff's funding.

Under a pending agreement released by the county, Mr. Pepersack, whose responsibilities as an elected official include providing courthouse security, would reign in his spending.

For his part, Mr. Neall would restore Mr. Pepersack's chief deputy, whose job was cut by the executive last summer, and boost the sheriff's budget by 5 percent in each of the next two years. Every other county agency faces cuts of 3 percent to 10 percent.

"The relationship between the county and the sheriff is being normalized," Mr. Pepersack said. "This [agreement] will go a long way. It's probably something we should have done from the very beginning."

A spokeswoman for Mr. Neall said only that the executive is "encouraged" by the agreement.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the County Council. Council Chairman David Boschert, a Crownsville Democrat, has not seen the pact, an aide said yesterday.

Tensions between the two sides arose two years ago when the sheriff overspent his annual budget and was forced to ask the County Council for additional money. The infighting intensified when the same thing happened last year.

Last summer, Mr. Pepersack filed suit in Circuit Court after the county cut portions of his budget and eliminated his chief deputy's job. The sheriff has argued that the county has no authority to cut his budget since he is an elected official.

The sheriff and the county sought help from Anne Arundel's delegation to the General Assembly this month. Each side has asked for legislation that would strengthen its hand against the other.

Del. Michael E. Busch, chairman of the 13-member House delegation, said a hearing on their requests has been postponed indefinitely. That meeting had been scheduled for this morning.

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