How to improve state work forceLt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg's...

the Forum

June 20, 1994

How to improve state work force

Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg's proposal to eliminate the state Department of Personnel is a misguided idea. The state government should make more efficient use of its current resources first. There are several ways this is possible.

The first might be to establish a whistleblower's hot line for corruption/mismanagement within the government. This would be a way to anonymously report wrongdoing.

The second is to establish an idea hot line that rewards people suggestions that save money if adopted.

Establish a volunteer board of management/employees to review these ideas. Offer a financial reward to employees whose ideas are adopted that save the government money. The state has a lot of creative brainpower among its hard working employees -- tap it.

The third is to crack down and eliminate deadbeat employees and managers. There are not many, but they do much damage.

Some managers are blatantly racist, despite their denials, or ignore obvious violations of state rules and regulations. Friends familiar with government have reported some of the following:

* Clerical staff spending most of the day staring at themselves in the mirror or parading around the office prying into other employee's business as they worked.

Meanwhile the office suffered as they had to do their own clerical work, and had none of some vital supplies, enough to last to the next year of others.

As the employee was a chronic complainer, management did not want to tackle the necessary discipline.

* Another classic example is former employees who returned to visit their friends, sell items on the side or make numerous personal calls -- all on state telephones and during working hours.

One staff member who complained to the manager about this was promptly told, "Don't tell me how to run this office." Meanwhile tax dollars got wasted.

* Then there are managers who play favorites with staff, violate equal employment opportunity laws in promotion, retaliate against employees who complain about such unfair conduct. Some offices are so bad their employees would pull coup d'etats on the managers if it were possible.

A humorous but sad case is where staff are given reprimands without any investigation or attempt to hear both sides of the story. The employee is then told by supervisors to "act professional."

Most state government employees are hard-working, dedicated people who enjoy helping the public under what can be trying circumstances.

They deserve a pat on the back for their efforts. But the dead wood does a lot of damage, and more effort needs to be done to eliminate it.

Michael Hinterberger

Sykesville

Presidential

I for one am sick and tired of the endless criticisms of Bill Clinton with regard to military service.

Like it or not, Mr. Clinton is the duly elected president of the United States of America. As such he is this country's head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

It was only fitting and proper that he represented the American people, veterans and civilians alike, during D-Day commemorations on the beaches at Normandy.

Anyone who heard him speak there knows he did so eloquently, with honor and dignity.

Ronald W. Cammarata

Baltimore

Scrutiny needed

The implementation of outcome-based education (OBE) by the Baltimore County public schools may prove to be less of an answer to the "education crisis" than advertised by the county's public school administration.

As one digs into the successes and failures of OBE as it has been tried in other districts throughout our country, it becomes apparent that there is little substantiated data to support the claims that are being made by Baltimore County OBE proponents.

In Virginia, OBE was eliminated as an answer to educational reform because of a strong campaign by concerned citizens against the teaching of values to students as part of the proposed OBE curriculum.

Others cite the movement away from basic core learnings, such as rote learning of multiplication tables and phonics to "improved" learning methods involving group learning, whole language and interdisciplinary learning.

Other states and cities are carefully studying the potential effect of the OBE-based curriculum on their school systems and proceeding with due caution. Some have indicated that the implementation process will take five to 10 years.

What do Baltimore County school administrators know that the rest of the education establishment has missed?

Could it be the smell of federal dollars that is driving this reckless move to OBE? Will the county school administrators assume full accountability for a poorly thought-out and implemented program?

I urge people to get involved and look closely at the proposed curriculum change, which will be fully implemented by school year 1995-1996.

Require that the county administrators be held accountable for their actions in this area. The children's future is at stake.

Robert J. Furmanski

Parkton

Mount Royal strings

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