Merit system move could revive boss system in countyI...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 07, 1998

Merit system move could revive boss system in county

I congratulate and support Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger for his very successful first term. But he has jeopardized that success and general good feeling by his recent proposal to change the merit system for Baltimore County employees ("Merit system shift urged," June 28).

Merit systems have been established at all levels of government across this country in response to the old-style political "boss machines" of the past. Those machines allowed their favored minions to get jobs in return for political support. Abuses by those bosses -- in New York with Boss Tweed, the Daley machine in Chicago, the old bosses in Baltimore City, and yes, even in Baltimore County -- were well-documented. The merit system was designed in direct response to those old bosses' abuses.

Mr. Ruppersberger wants to exempt 75 employees, including police majors and colonels, from the hard-won progress that created the merit system. The 75 employees are fewer than Mr. Ruppersberger's original proposal.

I understand the need for the chief executive of Baltimore County to be able to influence the bureaucracy, perhaps with only department heads and deputy department heads. The county government is not as large as the federal government, where the president has to reach deep into the bureaucracy to make appointments to affect change. An executive in Baltimore County can see policies carried out by appointing good department heads.

This proposal is just a first step down a slippery slope to that old "boss" system. I urge Mr. Ruppersberger to reconsider this proposal.

Mel Mintz

Baltimore

Blatant bias to ignore Giuliani visit to Sauerbrey

"On June 15, at the World Trade Center downtown, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the featured guest speaker on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey."

Were The Sun a paper of integrity and not of blatant bias, the above is what its readers would have seen on June 16 after the successful visit of the New York mayor, as witnessed by several hundred attendees, including me.

Instead, The Sun did not cover this newsworthy event, while all four of the local television affiliates featured Mr. Giuliani's visit to Charm City on their 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock newscasts.

I wonder what The Sun will look like the day after an election victory by Ms. Sauerbrey.

Sanford D. Horn

Baltimore

'Irrational drivel' on gays given too much attention

Once again I have The Sun to thank for the casual acts of hatred I and other gays and lesbians face each day. I speak of the front-page article "Envoy's nomination fires debate over 'gay agenda,' " (June 23).

Upon reading the article, I found not recital of the gay agenda, by which I presume you mean the right to work and live without fear, but a regurgitation of irrational drivel from Sen. Trent Lott and others of his ilk warning that James Hormel's nomination was just another instance of those pernicious homosexuals trying to convert the straight, presumably Christian population to their wicked, wicked ways.

Run such stories if you must, but give them the attention they deserve. Put them on the back pages below the fold with a more accurate headline. "Conservatives desperate to maintain congressional power use gay smear to derail Hormel nomination" would be appropriate.

If you are really looking for a front-page story, how about one on the reality that gays and lesbians continue to be ridiculed, fired, discriminated against, beaten, and even killed by folks who look up to Mr. Lott. The day I see that story in The Sun is the day I marry a man.

Cathy Brennan

Baltimore

Student member of panel right to seek public input

State Board of Education student member Ritchie Sharpe is true to his name. We congratulate him in his efforts to allow 45 minutes a month for the verbalized thoughts, fears and comments of concerned parents at monthly school board meetings ("State education board won't allow comment from public at meetings," June 24)

Mr. Sharpe knows that letters and faxes can be tossed into a shredder, but reporters can and do record verbal comments.

Using infallible and impeccable bureaucratic logic (without defining its terms) the board defeated Mr. Sharpe's proposal. Edward Andrews, the board's vice president, is quoted as saying he supports public comment, but the public already has plenty of avenues.

Like Mr. Sharpe, politicians and their appointees are aware of the impact of public attendance and public speaking at any political meeting. And we all recognize that it serves the omnipotence of governmental boards to silence verbal input.

The Romans had a formula for maintaining control of the people. Panen et circenses: "Give them bread and circuses." But no voices need apply.

Ritchie Sharpe is a breath of fresh air.

Thomas Murphy

Nancy Murphy

Bel Air

It's time for state officials to act on reading problems

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