ConfidentialityHaving read Larry Carson's Nov. 4 article...

the Forum

November 18, 1994


Having read Larry Carson's Nov. 4 article, "Blaze laid to worker found dead with gun," I as a county worker have some concerns.

What is the purpose of Baltimore County's Employee Assistance Program? I think a reasonable assumption would be counseling and help.

For this program to be successful, the employee must have confidence in the program. The cornerstone of counseling, anyone knows, is confidentiality.

This leads me to question the relationship between the County Employee Assistance Program and the County Office of Substance Abuse. Where did Michael S. Gimbel, director of the Office of Substance Abuse, get his knowledge of this man's problems?

If, as an employee, you go to seek help from the County Employee Assistance Program for alcohol-related problems, where does the director of the County Office of Substance Abuse fit in? How does he know how many times an employee seeks help?

How does he know enough to say that the employee "was a classic Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde," or a "very angry . . . hostile guy"? Why was he privileged to the information needed to make these statements?

Why was Mr. Gimbel allowed to go public with this confidential information, bringing into question the professionalism of both offices?

These are the questions I think every Baltimore County employee should ask before seeking help. The only answer I have is that it will be a cold day in hell before I would go to the County Employee Assistance Program.

Peter D. Latreille


Drug court

May I extend a very special thank-you for publishing the article on "drug court" Nov. 13? It is heartening to know that there is some activity in our courts that has a positive goal.

I'm sure there are many failures, but it is uplifting to see that someone is also encouraging successes.

I happen to know Judge Jamey Weitzman personally and think she is especially suited for this task.

She is a lady who speaks directly and pointedly with assurance. I'm sure it has some impact when she either congratulates or reprimands.

It is particularly good that those afflicted must appear periodically and be responsible to a person for their behavior.

The personal involvement of having to report to someone we respect and trust encourages us to be sure we have a good report to give.

I'm afraid our society has too often tried to misplace this responsibility onto someone beside the individual. Surely, we are all aware of the influences around us.

But until we take this principle of personal responsibility into the home and inculcate it into the teaching of our children, we shall never make a dent in any of these problems.

Please include more stories about positive actions being taken in our city. All of us need these reminders -- to lend them our support and to combat the feeling of helplessness we too often )) feel.

`J. Ronald Walcher, M.D.


Big spenders

Undoubtedly the most appropriate comment on the recent election was made by The Evening Sun's Dan Berger:

"Voters turned against big government everywhere except Baltimore County, where they threw out small government."

Being a lifetime subscriber -- it's a monopoly -- I have never understood why, if The Baltimore Sun is truly the guardian of the people's right to be informed, it invariably endorses the big spenders.

County Executive Roger Hayden's response to losing proves he is no politician. His was the only administration I can remember to reduce the size and cost of the bureaucracy.

Every taxpayer I have ever spoken to, no matter what party affiliation, has railed against taxes, and yet the voters in this election approved every spending measure on the ballot.

Politicians don't need this kind of encouragement. It is a phenomenon similar to using your credit card and not realizing the debt has to be paid.

If our elected county executive, "Dutch" Ruppersberger, can honor his commitments and pacify his constituents without significantly increasing the size of the bureaucracy and the cost, he should be revered as a miracle man.

Remember what Roger Hayden said, "If you go 'Dutch,' you pay."

#Forrest F. Gesswein, Jr.


Unruly students

The article Nov. 10 describing the predicament of the substitute school bus driver in Baltimore County, as she became responsible for the safety of 45 students, astounded me.

Not one word was said about the inexcusable behavior of the students on that bus.

Are the parents holding a meeting to condemn the bus driver, or will they be discussing how to assure that their children will behave themselves on the bus in the future?

I wonder what their reaction would have been if they had been responsible for 45 children, trying to obey traffic laws while being pelted with paper balls from behind, and finding that the children had opened the escape door creating a very hazardous situation.

I am sure this is one bus driver who likes being told that she is not going to be driving a bus anymore.

Anita W. Strohmer


Price hike for Orioles tickets insults fans

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