Md. contract workers deserve the benefits fellow employees...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 18, 1998

Md. contract workers deserve the benefits fellow employees 0) get

I was glad to see the story about the state of Maryland hiring contract workers and not providing such benefits as health care and pension. This might make sense for short-term workers of six months or less, but it is grossly unfair.

These employees have worked side by side with permanent employees for years, performing the same work but receiving none of the benefits, which also include sick leave and vacations.

Your story highlighted the existence of a two-tier caste system on the government level. The state of Maryland should rethink the use of contract employees or at least give them benefits. It seems that the lack of health care and pension benefits would have future consequences with more people needing Medicaid and other government assistance.

Phyllis Sachs

Baltimore

Sauerbrey has abandoned ideas and loyal supporters

Craig Timberg's column regarding Ellen Sauerbrey's "headache" in putting together a statewide election slate fails to point out that the current deep division in the Republican ranks was caused by her recent abandonment of her principles and of personal loyalty to her lieutenants ("Sauerbrey bid for unified GOP hits resistance," July 14).

For some reason, probably fund-raising coupled with bad advice, she has done an about-face and alienated her core supporters. First, she drops her loyal and philosophically compatible 1994 running mate, Paul Rappaport, from the ticket. Second, she makes a transparent grab at the black vote she has no hope of getting by endorsing for comptroller Michael Steele, a man with no financial credentials.

In doing so, she has offended the many Republican supporters of the 1994 nominee, accountant Tim Mayberry, who has been traveling the state for five years with an articulate message of accountability in the comptroller's office.

Many question the propriety of Ms. Sauerbrey intervening in primaries.

Mr. Rappaport is correct to run a campaign independent of the Sauerbrey-Bennett-Steele cabal. They appear to be heading the same way as the Dole-Kemp disaster in 1996. With Mr. Rappaport and Mr. Mayberry energizing the forgotten base, who knows? They may provide Ms. Sauerbrey with reverse coattails, and she may win in spite of her ill-advised actions.

Daniel E. Earnshaw

Havre de Grace

United Nations not giving Israel its rightful place

It is most ironic that the overwhelming number of member states of the United Nations are tripping over each other to upgrade the Palestine Liberation Organization's status when Israel is the only long-standing member state that is not a member of any regional group.

As a result, Israel is barred from sitting on important U.N. committees such as the Security Council because membership on those bodies is provided only to representatives of the regional groups. While Israel logically belongs in the Asia group, the Arab states block its membership there.

Furthermore, the Palestinians' effort to upgrade their U.N. standing was an attempt to predetermine their international status and a distinct violation of their agreements with Israel. Israel and the PLO signed an interim peace deal in 1993 that left Palestinian statehood and other controversial topics to be resolved in "final status" talks. The U.N. should not be meddling in this matter until it is settled between the two parties.

Efforts must be undertaken to ensure and promote Israel's full and equal participation.

Ronald B. Weitzman

Baltimore

Assateague Island project will not hurt piping plover

I am writing in response to the letter "Protect the piping plover from growth on Assateague" (July 12).

The letter contains erroneous statements that create a false impression of the activities that will occur on the island later this summer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project, requested by the National Park Service to repair last winter's storm damage, has been exhaustively planned to fully protect the piping plovers using northern Assateague Island.

No work will begin until the plovers finish their reproductive season. Based upon progress thus far (as documented by intensive monitoring), it appears that breeding will conclude by mid-to-late August, at which point the project will be given the go-ahead to proceed.

At no time was the well-being of the plovers in jeopardy. Also, the emergency project will not "create a 10-foot berm for development" as stated, but rather restore the island to its pre-storm elevation and condition.

Up to five 5 of sand was lost during the storms, creating a real concern that any future storm might split the island in two. The repairs are intended to tide the island over and lessen the risk of future damage until a planned restoration program can be initiated.

It is unfortunate that despite a well-publicized decision-making process, misunderstandings about the Assateague project persist.

Marc A. Koenings

Berlin

The writer is superintendent of the National Park Service's Assateague Island National Seashore.

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