CA president's high pay cannot be justifiedIt has been my...

LETTERS

August 09, 1998

CA president's high pay cannot be justified

It has been my opinion for some time that the president of the Columbia Association has been overpaid. Now the association has agreed to pay Deborah O. McCarty $5,000 more than the $120,000 it paid Padraic M. Kennedy. How can one possibly justify a salary of $125,000 for this position?

For comparison, here are the salaries of people with far broader responsibilities: Howard County executive, $88,500; mayor of Baltimore, $95,000; governor, $120,000; Howard county superintendent of schools, $134,246; new president of Howard Community College, $110,000.

To start Mrs. McCarty at $125,000 seems irresponsible. She was quoted in the press as saying she did not have managerial experience. It seems that a lower starting salary would have been much more appropriate.

CA operates, for the most part, recreation facilities. It has no responsibility for public safety, public works or education. Its responsibilities cover a very limited area.

What other expenses did we pay in connection with this hire? If we paid moving costs, how much was that? What else? In other words, what did the whole package cost?

Past incidents have shown that payers of the Columbia assessments have not given enough attention to how our money is being spent. An explanation by the Columbia Association regarding these matters might give us some confidence that our funds are being spent properly and prudently.

Vivian C. Bailey

Columbia I am dismayed by the proposed "heroin maintenance" trial recently suggested by the Baltimore health commissioner and drug abuse experts at Johns Hopkins University. The trial would dispense heroin to hard-core addicts in a controlled research environment. The objective of the plan is to curb drug-related crime, as well as the spread of AIDS by intravenous drug users.

Supporters of the trial hope that if hard-core addicts, who have refused or failed conventional drug-rehabilitation programs, are given their heroin, they won't commit crimes to get money to buy drugs.

While crime is down in Baltimore County, drug cases are on the rise. For the first quarter of 1998, heroin possession is up 75.5 percent over the same period in 1997. Heroin use has spread to counties where it was once almost non-existent. In Carroll County, there were three heroin overdose deaths this year among young people, compared with none in 1996. The number of heroin users in treatment is up more than 40 percent in Howard County.

Drug abuse accounts for about 80 percent of the street crime. Drug users are involved in at least 15 percent of highway fatalities. They are three times more likely to have workplace accidents. They give birth to 350,000 drug-addicted infants each year. Economic loss in employee absence and productivity directly attributable to drug abuse is approximately $40 billion a year.

Frankly, I am afraid if heroin maintenance becomes a treatment option, heroin use and addiction will soar, as it has done wherever and whenever heroin has become legally available. Society cannot afford and does not dare tolerate the cost of a ballooning heroin-addicted population.

#Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer

Arbutus

The writer represents parts of Howard and Baltimore counties in the 12th Legislative District.

Vote out politicians who ignore road noise

Funds provided by the governor and our delegates again ignore the high noise level in the areas bordering Interstate 95. This problem is about 30 years old. It's time to change all the people responsible, from the governor to the senator and delegates.

The problem results from two factors: The road was supposed to be 15 feet below the surrounding land and the state used a type of concrete that is very noisy.

Then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer had agreed to resurface the road through Elkridge to correct part of the noise problem. Nobody's done anything.

In the meantime, millions are being spent all over Maryland and the United States for noise barrier walls. Congress had a $200 billion road bill this year for all kinds of campaign projects.

Millions for noise control and zero for the Elkridge area? There is no vision regarding environmental problems.

ames M. Holway

Ellicott City

Hospital merger has many bright spots

The merger of Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard County General Hospital is now settled, to the immense satisfaction of both institutions and their boards.

But what about the communities each has served? Do they, too, have cause to be satisfied?

Your editorial of July 10 ("What's in a name?") wisely concluded that Howard County General's "new association with Hopkins should put it in a better position to serve all the medical needs of Howard County's rapidly growing population."

But what's in it for those long served by and working for Hopkins? A great deal.

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