DeGraff predicts 'humdinger of a night' for council

December 13, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Joseph Shepard Tullier promised before the Nov. 2 city elections to strengthen Annapolis' police and fire services.

Tonight, at his first City Council meeting as an alderman, Mr. Tullier will get an up-close look at the problems confronting the two departments.

Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins and the council are to meet in private at 7 p.m. Up for discussion will be the legal challenge mounted by 13 active and former police officers to last month's promotion of five minority and female officers to corporal.

In addition, firefighters angry over the breakup of long established units and reorganization that followed the Nov. 2 election have announced plans to air their grievances when the public session begins at 7:30 p.m. "I find it disturbing that we promoted these people without going through the council," said Alderman Wayne Turner, a Ward 6 Republican. "Everything has been close-mouthed [by the administration] for the past three months. They keep telling me that they are not keeping anything secret, but they aren't keeping us informed."

Alderman Turner said he was angry that he learned only Friday about tonight's closed session on the police and has had little time to prepare for the "fact-finding session."

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, said he also expects to see a showdown between the mayor and the five members of the council whom he either actively opposed or simply did not support during the election.

That showdown, he said, could come over appointments to the council's six standing committees. "It's going to be a humdinger of a night," said Alderman M. Theresa DeGraff, a Ward 7 Republican.

Even Alderman Tullier, a Ward 4 Democrat who plans to spend his first night learning the ropes, said he has detected "a lot of bubbling around the issue of the [firefighter] transfers."

Fire Chief Edward P. Sherlock announced last month plans to transfer more than half of the city's 80 unionized firefighters to new platoons, stations or equipment.

Some firefighters said they felt the moves were meant as retribution because the union opposed Mayor Hopkins during the campaign.

Then, City Police Chief Harold Robbins, with the mayor's approval, promoted five minority patrol officers to the rank of corporal, though the council had not approved five new corporal positions.

Other officers who were higher on an expired promotion eligibility list and were passed over in favor of the minority patrol officers have since sued the city.

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