Pension furorWhile I am not a fan of Gov. Parris...

the Forum

March 06, 1995

Pension furor

While I am not a fan of Gov. Parris Glendening, I can't understand what all the furor is about the Prince George's County pension plan.

As a former state bureaucrat, I can tell you that the state government has many retired high-ranking military persons working for it.

There are physicians in the Health Department, engineers in the Department of General Services and other such places. One of the top executives in the Department of Employment Security was a retired Marine general. Many retired Baltimore City firemen and police have been employed by the state. The funds to pay for these pensions all come from the same source, the taxpayer.

Under Maryland's retirement law, a retired employee of the state or any participating county or municipality (Prince George's County does not participate) cannot accept permanent employment with the state or any such participating municipality or county without having his or her retirement allowance suspended.

In other words, the state can hire a retiree from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County or any other political subdivision with its own, or no, pension system.

But a state employee cannot accept employment with Harford County, Cecil County or other participants without having his or her pension suspended. Nor can their retirees work for the state or each other without having their pensions suspended.

I once had an employee who was a teacher retired from Pennsylvania. If he had been a Maryland retired teacher, his pension would have been suspended. This is very unfair, and despite many attempts to get rectifying legislation, it is still in effect.

Regarding the early retirement, Maryland had, and still has for tTC those grandfathered in, a similar provision. This only applied to elected and non-merit system people.

It was put there years ago, under the philosophy that anyone who could survive 16 years of Maryland politics should be allowed to retire if not reelected or reappointed.

Malcolm S. Barlow


Dignified dying

H.B. 933, the Physician Aid in Dying bill is being considered by the Maryland House of Delegates. I encourage its support.

I believe in death with dignity and the empowerment of patients suffering painful and terminal illnesses to choose to shorten their dying.

I came to this belief after watching close friends and family members suffer terrible pain and assorted indignities in the course of the prolongation of their dying. Anyone who has watched a loved one endure a similar experience will understand, and perhaps share, my abhorrence.

While the passage of the living will legislation goes a long way to providing relief in these circumstances, it does not address those occasions when pain cannot be controlled (there is ample proof that this can happen) and when there are other forms of suffering (loss of control and independence, intolerable indignities).

I absolutely do not want to end my life under such circumstances and I know of no one who does.

This bill provides a means of relief for the suffering patient as well as protection for physicians who by choice wish to assist in that relief.

Many doctors already do, and in fact have always helped end suffering and shorten the dying process, but at the risk of having violated the law. They deserve to be protected as they perform a truly humane act.

The bill was carefully crafted to provide such safeguards as certified terminal illness, required second opinion, screening for depression, three requests -- one of which is in writing -- and at least a two-week waiting period, help in the form of a lethal prescription which the patient self-administers, to name a few. It should meet the scrutiny of the most careful reader.

In the final analysis, the question which must be addressed is, "What kind of death do I wish for myself or for my loved ones?"

Selma Goldberg


Brave officers

Regarding the article of Feb. 22 in which Officer Martin Young witnessed a sidewalk slaying, did anyone else pick up on the fact that this occurred approximately 30 feet from a marked patrol car?

The complete lack of fear of anything, including the police, displayed by today's criminals makes me wonder how those brave souls in the blue who patrol our streets continue to do so under such dire conditions.

They must be equally as fearless or just plain determined to do the best job they can, as stated by Officer Young. The good citizens of Baltimore should be thankful that this brave officer could relate the story in the first person.

Thank Officer Young and the other fine officers of the Baltimore Police Department for their continued efforts to make this city a safer place to live, work and visit.

Dennis J. Slitzer

Forest Hill

Why affirmative action is still needed

The sex discrimination suit against the Baltimore Folk Music Society strikes me as ironic in light of the apparent impending demise of affirmative action.

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