Loyal state workers get no recognitionIn his State of the...

LETTERS

February 10, 1996

Loyal state workers get no recognition

In his State of the State message, the governor not only failed to give state workers a pay increase but shockingly did not even recognize the existence of the tens of thousands of men and women who, day in and day out, in an increasingly strained economic climate, provide services to our citizens.

The only acknowledgement of state employees was the announcement that hundreds were to be fired.

Money always seems to be available for bricks and mortar and roads and buildings and stadiums for foreign football teams. The human element, however, is all too frequently cast aside.

In few areas will the state's money crunch be felt with as stinging consequences as it will throughout the prison system.

With an inmate population fast approaching 30,000, the governor's budget proposal includes no capital funds for prison construction or additions. Funds for the prison being constructed in Cumberland have been cut back, and the original plans have been essentially cut in half.

Very small cells now house at least two inmates in every prison in the state, and some institutions are forced to utilize former recreational facilities to house inmates. The state correctional administration has done little to fill the waking hours of inmates with meaningful activities.

The result is growing tension and hostility among those confined, and an increased reliance on correctional staff to keep the peace.

Rehabilitation of prisoners exists, if at all, in name only. Now the administration has announced that those civilian employees who provide educational opportunities for inmates are to be laid off.

These essential and dedicated employees are to be fired without cause, reason, concern or compassion for their personal needs and future careers.

This means that GED as well as vocational training will no longer exist, and individuals incarcerated with little or no education will have no opportunity to gain the minimal education which could be critical to their survival when released.

J. Edward Davis

Towson

The writer is general counsel for the Maryland Classified Employees Assn.

Strict penalties for abuse of public office

I read with total disgust of the violation of office by the non-action of Housing Inspector Henry John ''Jack'' Reed III (The Sun, Feb. 3).

This man, and those who are guilty of the same infractions, should be made to pay for all repairs to those properties they own that are found to be substandard, and in violation of the very codes that they were responsible to enforce. Then they should be made to resign their positions, and penalized by stripping them of their pensions, be they city, county, state or federal pensions.

Until there is some pressure applied to government employees, you will have corruption, cheating and other negative methods of performance in our officials who are being paid handsomely for their positions.

It is not enough to target these individuals; they must be made to pay restitution from their pockets for their infractions. Then and only then will we have some sort of respectability for those who have chosen to be a civil servant as a career.

The city fathers, and others in the postion of authority, should learn a lesson from this. . . You don't put the fox in charge of guarding the chicken coop.

Or are they getting a cut under the table? And you wonder why the taxpaying voters are beset with a large dose of apathy and contempt for politicians.

John F. Thomas

Catonsville

County needs housing code

It appears that Baltimore County is heading toward the same real estate problems as Baltimore City.

The city is certainly lax in enforcing its housing code, especially on owner-occupied homes. The primary concern of the city is to protect renters, not preserve neighborhoods against deterioration.

Baltimore County is even more lax than Baltimore City in protecting neighborhoods.

The city's housing code covers all housing, although more strictly enforced against rental properties. Baltimore County on the other hand has regulations that pertain only to rental units.

There are no regulations in the county to protect individuals who take reasonable care of their properties from neighbors who neglect to keep the outside of their properties in repair. As long as it is owner-occupied, there is no violation of the county code.

The lack of a code to protect individuals those who purchase their own homes can only lead to a depreciation of property values (assessment and tax basis) for the county.

Now is the time for the Baltimore County Council to look at including protection for individual home owners who keep up maintenance on their investment from those who allow them to deteriorate.

Action now can save the county from some of the problems facing the city.

Charles D. Connelly

Baltimore

Change hospital beds for maternity patients

Regarding the Jan. 25 article, "48-Hour hospital stay law isn't working":

Why is the only choice for new mothers a $100 per day bed or early discharge?

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