Boschert wants to limit ex-county workers' jobs

February 01, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

County Council Chairman David G. Boschert said he will introduce an ethics bill tonight prohibiting county employees from lobbying or doing business with the county for one year after they leave government service.

The legislation, he said, is aimed at curbing any conflicts of interest for employees who will resign or be laid off as the result of the impending reorganization and consolidation of county government.

More than 100 county employees are expected to lose their jobs as the result of the reorganization plan drawn up by County Executive Robert R. Neall. So far, two department heads -- Tom Neel of the Department of Utilities and Parker Andrews of Public Works -- have resigned. Six departments will be consolidated: Utilities will merge into Public Works; Planning and Zoning will combine with Inspections and Permits; and the Budget and Finance Offices will be joined.

Mr. Boschert said he has received complaints from private-sector employers who have received calls from county employees pressuring them for jobs after they leave the government. Mr. Boschert said he did not want to specify who was calling him.

"I think that this is totally unfortunate and unprofessional, and I want to put a stop to this before it gets started," Mr. Boschert said.

One council member said the development community was complaining about being pressured for jobs.

The bill may face opposition from council members who sympathize with fired workers.

Councilwoman Maureen Lamb said it makes sense to prohibit employees who leave government on their own volition from using their former positions to their advantage. But it could be another matter for fired employees.

Mrs. Lamb, who said she first heard of the bill yesterday, was not sure how she would vote on it.

"I would have supported it a year ago, before we had people being laid off, but I don't know where these people are going to go," she said.

A bill codifying Mr. Neall's government reorganization also was to be introduced tonight. Mr. Neall was given authority to reorganize when voters passed Charter Amendment G in the November election. The plan still requires County Council approval.

The council also will hold several public hearings at tonight's meeting, including one on a bill to approve a $250,000 county payment to a Baltimore developer to take control of the restoration of the Wiley H. Bates High School property in Annapolis.

The boarded-up and rapidly deteriorating building was once the county's only high school for blacks. County officials plan to turn the building and grounds over to the City of Annapolis for renovation.

Developer Leonard Frenkil had formed a partnership with the nonprofit Bates Foundation and planned to convert the building into a community and senior citizen center. Mr. Frenkil intended to offset the $1 million cost of removing asbestos from the school building by building 86 town houses on the school grounds.

That plan ran into opposition from environmentalists, who argued that the grounds should be preserved as open space. Ultimately, the City Council refused to grant the necessary zoning for the town house construction.

Mr. Frenkil had asked the county for $740,000 to cover expenses incurred in the design process, but Mr. Neall persuaded Mr. Frenkil to accept the lower settlement. All engineering plans and studies will be turned over to the county as part of the settlement.

The county's Planning Advisory Board, which must sign off on all capital projects, gave its approval at a Jan. 14 meeting.

If passed by the council, the property transfer to the city must also be approved by the state Board of Public Works.

The council also is expected to approve $50,000 to pay half the cost of renovating a Colonial-era house and the Vermont Federal Bank Building on West Street for a new Annapolis Visitors Center. The other half will be paid by the City of Annapolis.

The visitors center should be open by June 1, after some renovation is completed, said Herman Schieke, executive director of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Office space for the tourist bureau, to be located in the old house, will be ready much sooner, after some painting, ceiling repair and carpet installation.

Finally, the council will hold a public hearing on Councilwoman Virginia Clagett's bill to regulate the county's rubble landfills.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Arundel Center's Council Chambers.

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