Gary: Evans' resolution was all about politicsIn a June 28...

Letters

September 06, 1998

Gary: Evans' resolution was all about politics

In a June 28 letter to the editor, Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Diane Evans attempted to take credit for an issue in which she had no involvement and no impact. She misled parents and citizens by telling them that a resolution she introduced was intended for any reason other than political posturing. The truth is otherwise.

Ms. Evans voted for a budget which provided a $14 million increase for the school system. She agreed that additional classroom teachers were needed and she knew that the school board refused to hire them prior to funding an unnecessary 27th pay week for administrators.

The school board wanted the citizens to fund $34 million worth of built-in bureaucracy before it would be willing to hire another classroom teacher or purchase textbooks.

Ms. Evans offered a non-binding, politically motivated resolution that she knew could not be implemented even if the council voted to pass it. At the time her resolution was introduced on July 6, the Board of Education had not requested the supplemental budget funding.

This is required by state law. Ms. Evans knows that, but she led parents to believe I could submit this supplemental funding without the school board making a request for the funds.

In fact, the school board delivered its request to me on the Thursday before the Monday, July 20 council hearing, allowing me only two days to prepare the supplemental budget appropriation bill. Ms. Evans knew that her resolution was not valid the day she introduced it. The only thing this resolution did was to mislead the parents into believing that she was attempting to do something to help them.

Once I received the funding request from the Board of Education, I consulted the council chairman, Bert L. Rice, and the vice chairman, John J. Klocko III.

We agreed that a supplemental budget appropriation bill should be introduced on July 20. Since the board refused to provide details regarding the expenditure of the requested funds, I told the council chairman that I wanted the opportunity to make a statement for the public record. I wanted to object to the lack of background information to support the board's request for an additional $6 million.

Clearly, my concern was that we would give the board the additional funds, increasing its budget by $20 million in one year, and it would still cut programs that the parents wanted.

Ms. Evans was well aware of the fact that the parents attending that meeting were asking for funds because they wanted the Gifted and Talented program restored, and they didn't want to pay $50 each for sports and music participation for students. Yet, her resolution did not and would not assure parents that these programs would be restored as they expected.

That is exactly the reason I wanted to address the council. I wanted to explain to the parents that the addition of $6 million would not necessarily be spent to restore programs cut by the board, nor would it necessarily be spent on reducing class size. Ms. Evans knew that other council members were going to dismiss her politically motivated resolution; thus, she withdrew it.

I have supported and will continue to support education to the fullest extent possible.

John G. Gary

Annapolis

The writer is Anne Arundel County executive.

Reasons to vote for Robert Neall

I support Sen. Robert R. Neall in the Republican primary in District 33. Mr. Neall has dedicated the majority of his adult life to public service. In the early 1970s, he was elected to the House of Delegates in District 33 where he served for 12 years.

He gained the respect of Democrats and Republicans alike with his understanding of complex budget issues, his ability to gather votes on both sides of the aisle, and his common-sense approach to governmental issues. He became minority whip during his freshman term and was re-elected to that position in his next term.

In 1990, he was elected Anne Arundel executive and guided the county through tough economic times without any layoffs of employees and with minimal impact on services to residents. He established a "rainy day" fund to give the county some breathing room for future downturns. He accomplished this while living within the constraints of a new tax cap.

Mr. Neall also has impeccable credentials in the business community. He is not a full-time politician. He understands the problems of local business people. He managed his family's business, has worked in the banking and health care industries and operated his own consulting firm.

Upon the death of Sen. John A. Cade, Mr. Neall once again made personal sacrifices to become a nominee to fill that vacancy. He was appointed in late 1996 and has served for two years in the Maryland Senate, helping to pass meaningful tax cut legislation among other important issues.

Mr. Neall's opponent in the primary, Bill Scott, has adopted the slogan, "A legislator, not a lobbyist." Sounds like a ringing endorsement for Mr. Neall, doesn't it?

Ray Kenney

Severna Park

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