Frazier shouldn't get credit for DROPA June 24 editorial...


July 03, 1996

Frazier shouldn't get credit for DROP

A June 24 editorial, "Incentive for city police veterans," incorrectly gave Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier credit for developing and implementing the new Deferred Retirement Option Plan. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The originator of DROP was Bill Taylor, president of the Baltimore City Firefighters Union and past president of the National Conference of Public Employees Retirement Systems.

Bill brought the plan to me and John Seiss, president of the Fire Officers Union, more than 18 months ago. For a year and a half, the Fraternal Order of Police worked with both fire unions and representatives from the mayor's office in order to fine tune an agreement.

It was the FOP and the fire unions that spent their money on pension attorneys and actuaries, not the Police Department. Dozens of meetings and hundreds of hours were spent in difficult and frustrating negotiations. Commissioner Frazier attended none of these meetings and did not participate in any way in this process.

In fact, only a few days prior to the passage of the legislation, Commissioner Frazier wrote a letter to City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III concerning the inclusion of light-duty personnel in DROP. The letter stated in part: "At a time when I am making a concerted effort to maximize the resources available to the Baltimore Police Department and improve its effectiveness, City Council Bill 132 (DROP), as written has the potential to hinder me in this endeavor. The enticement for experienced officers to remain with the agency once they have reached their 20-year or longer milestone may have undesired side effects."

This last-minute maneuver on the part of Commissioner Frazier put the final passage of DROP in serious doubt. I can only guess where The Sun got the impression that the commissioner somehow deserves any credit for DROP.

Gary McLhinney


MA The writer is president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3.

Memorial Stadium built in the 1920s

In his June 25 front-page article regarding the playing surface being laid down for the upcoming Ravens' games, your Michael James writes, "Nearly half a century old, Memorial Stadium . . ."

It may be courteous or chivalrous to understate a lady's age, but in the case of our stadium Mr. James should have stated, "Nearly three-quarters of a century old."

The date that appears on the plaque on the 33rd Street end of the stadium is very misleading. Actually it refers to the year in which the stadium was refurbished in preparation for Baltimore's debut into big time-baseball, the International League Orioles achieving their ambition to convert into the American League Orioles.

The stadium has been here and on its present site ever since it was built in the early 1920s. Long before its post-World War II major-league football and baseball usage, it had hosted over 20 years of political rallies, Easter sunrise services and other religious events, patriotic events including Fourth of July programs with fireworks displays, summer band concerts, track and field events, college sports events, including some Naval Academy home football games.

And let's not forget the huge number of students of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Baltimore City College and their dates who packed the stadium every Thanksgiving Day afternoon for that Baltimore classic, the City-Poly game.

Gordon H. Himmer


Blue Cross boss sees health as business

How interesting to see William L. Jews ("Better deal for the patient," Perspective section, June 23) comparing medical care to ATM machines and self-service gasoline pumps.

This reveals well the hopes that health corporations have to increase their profits and high salaries by depersonalizing medical care.

I am sure they would love to get the doctors out of the system. Can you imagine how profitable they will be when the patients will go to a machine and self-serve for their treatments?

No, I am afraid that health care cannot be at the mercy of "market forces."

The problem with HMOs is exactly this: For them, less service means more profits.

They can try to persuade the public that they want to deliver "high-quality, effective care." They can even try to portray themselves as the guardians against expensive and unnecessary and ''even harmful care." But they can't get away from the fact that their profits depends on no care.

I am not against the concept of managing care as a way to better utilize the health care dollar. Of course, even systems like the single-payer in Canada or the National Health Service in England have to manage their care resources.

But in both countries, the doctor-patient relationship is respected and the goal of managing care is not huge profits and high salaries for CEOs. This of course makes a great difference in terms of limited resources and people's needs.

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