Worker reinstated after conviction

January 30, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

One day after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge, a key Baltimore County personnel worker was reinstated to her $47,559-a-year job, a decision some county workers find disturbing in light of impending layoffs.

Jo Anne Kincer, 35, director of the county's personnel records management section, had been suspended without pay since October, a month after police raided her Parkton home and found 31 marijuana plants growing in a backyard greenhouse and 19 pounds of packaged marijuana worth an estimated $60,000.

On Thursday, Mrs. Kincer was given probation before judgment for possession of marijuana. She also was placed on two years of supervised probation. Throughout the legal proceedings, Mrs. Kincer cooperated with police and said she knew of her husband's marijuana dealing, but could not get him to stop.

Patrick Kincer, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of marijuana with intent to distrib

ute. He will be sentenced April 7.

County personnel director Richard N. Holloway, who made the decision giving Mrs. Kincer back her job, said "she's entitled to work here."

"Her account all along is that it's entirely her husband's doing," said Mr. Holloway. "Frankly, it comes down to believing her, and that's not taken lightly."

County Executive Roger B. Hayden said he reviewed Mr. Holloway's decision, and agreed that Mrs. Kincer "deserved her job."

Mrs. Kincer's return to her nonunion supervisory job already has stirred angry feelings among some county workers, many of whom will lose their jobs in this year's budget cuts.

"As an employee, I think it stinks, but as a union president, they have defined 'disrepute,'" said Edward M. Pedrick Jr., president of the county's blue-collar Local 921, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

When deciding whether to fire or suspend an employee without pay, county officials have had to decide if the employee's action "brings disrepute" to the county. The "disrepute" standard was used in October to suspend Mrs. Kincer without pay.

"Now they've set a precedent," said Mr. Pedrick, who cited cases where employees have been fired for fighting while off duty, or for drug possession.

He also said it was unfair to reinstate Mrs. Kincer with full back pay when other county workers, who have clean records, may lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

Many employees are particularly concerned because Mrs. Kincer's job involves control of personnel records, said Mr. Pedrick.

"She should at least be moved out of personnel," he said.

One county worker, who asked not to be identified, said he was "appalled" by the decision to reinstate Mrs. Kincer. The man also said he received letters from Hereford Middle School, warning about the pressures children are under to drink, use drugs or have sex.

"There's no way you can convince me that some of that stuff [marijuana] didn't end up in the local high school or middle school." he said.

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