County Owes Debt To Man It's FiringAs a member of the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 07, 1993

County Owes Debt To Man It's Firing

As a member of the County Council, I accept the right of the county executive to appoint and fire heads of departments. But I am disturbed over the county executive's decision to terminate the services of Tom Neel.

In 1982, the failure of our sewage treatment plants was the campaign issue. We had approximately 200 sewage spills every year from our pumping stations and over 400 violations of our discharge permits. . . . Elected officials attempted to correct the deficiencies and ensure improvement in the quality and efficiency. Tom Neel was appointed to the Department of Utilities as its director.

Under Neel's leadership, the quality and productivity improved dramatically. Pride and commitment among department employees was encouraged and rewarded. Sewage overflows were reduced from 200 spills to fewer than five per year and treatment plant performance is near perfect! . . . During the last 10 years, the Department of Utilities has achieved its goal of making our county's waste treatment facilities among the best in the nation. The department has been given over 30 top awards by such groups as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Senate, the National Association of Counties, and many others.

The Cox Creek and Annapolis treatment plants have operated for the last five years without any discharge permit violations and were given the Gold Star Award from the State of Maryland. Also, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has recognized the county as having some of the best sewage treatment plants in Maryland.

Tom Neel came from Pennsylvania just 10 years ago. His contributions to this county have been immeasurable. We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. I'm sure that another county will hire Tom Neel, but we will have lost a truly fine man and a great public servant.

Maureen Lamb

Annapolis

B6 The writer is an Anne Arundel County councilwoman.

Scholarship Scam

In this year of acute fiscal pinch in Maryland's budget, it is particularly troubling that one-quarter of our state college scholarship money -- some $7 million -- continues to be disbursed under the legislative scholarship system.

In no other state are legislators permitted to disburse state scholarship funds. (In the case of Maryland senators, over $100,000 per legislator). Yet in Maryland, we tolerate this system with all its possibilities for abuse and its total lack of oversight or accountability. . . . This scholarship money is intended for the truly needy student. It is not intended for the purchase of political goodwill from a legislator's constituents . . . It is encouraging, however, that increasing numbers of representatives are willing to drop the scholarship program.

Del. John C. Astle, District 30, returns his scholarship allotment to the treasury. At the same time, he is a co-sponsor of legislation to abolish these scholarships. District 33's Del. Marcia Perry is a co-sponsor as well.

I thank Mr. Astle and Ms. Perry and others like them who are no longer willing to countenance this inappropriate and irresponsible spending of my tax dollars to dispense political favors. I urge other members of the Anne Arundel County House Delegation to join them.

Lucia M. Atlas

Annapolis

Marshall, Tree Of Knowledge

It seemed as though Justice Thurgood Marshall was a tree of knowledge that would never wither; a beacon of leadership and direction that would always be present. Justice Marshall was the battering ram that demolished the walls of segregation, allowing African-Americans to venture that halls of the legal profession and education in general.

Perhaps most illustrative of Justice Marshall's determination for equality in education were his experiences as a young college graduate attempting to enroll in the University of Maryland's law school, only to be rejected based upon race. He subsequently worked to change the admission policies in the educational system. I write as a beneficiary of Justice Marshall's hard work, dedication and unbending determination to provide all Americans equal access to education.

HTC I think of Justice Marshall's triumphant victory in Mills v. Board of Education of Anne Arundel County, forcing Anne Arundel County to pay minority teachers equal salaries to their white counterparts.

I then reflect on the importance of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, a case Justice Marshall argued before the U.S. Supreme Court which allowed me to have an equal opportunity to achieve in our society. . . . The significance of Justice Marshall's appointment by President Lyndon B. Johnson the U.S. Supreme Court is easily recognizable. His impact on the court was immediately apparent. Justice Marshall's unswerving, but never reaching, advocacy of the less fortunate, the silent minority, and all those who believe in freedom in a democratic society, shall remain in the hearts and minds of all.

From his life, like an eternal fire of justice, a river never ending, a sky of hope above a mountaintop of truth and faith, we are a more progressive society. Justice Marshall's accomplishments and principles shall not go in vain, but shall endure with this generation and every generation to follow.

Daryl D. Jones

Glen Burnie

The writer is an assistant state's attorney for Anne Arundel County.

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