Bill places Glendening at odds with key allies

The Political Game

Teachers: A measure that would enact a series of financial incentives angers the union but doesn't appear to be headed for a veto.

May 25, 1999|By Thomas W. Waldron and Michael Dresser | Thomas W. Waldron and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

GOV. PARRIS N. Glendening appears ready to disappoint one of his most powerful allies -- the state teachers union.

The Maryland State Teachers Association has pressed Glendening to veto a bill championed by state school Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and passed by the General Assembly that would set up a series of financial incentives for teachers.

Among other things, the bill would extend a new teacher's probation from two to three years and pay state-funded bonuses to some new teachers and some who work in the state's worst-performing schools. The bonuses would be outside the purview of collective bargaining agreements between teachers' unions and local school boards.

"House Bill 9 offers little true support for attracting and retaining quality teachers in Maryland public schools," officials with MSTA and the American Federation of Teachers said in a letter sent last week to Glendening.

MSTA was a key supporter of Glendening's in both of his gubernatorial elections, providing money and volunteers, and it usually has considerable influence with the governor.

But when Glendening makes his final decision on legislation this week, he is not likely to veto the teacher-incentive bill, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

While a veto might cheer the union, it would likely anger legislative leaders such as House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., who co-sponsored the bill. A veto of a major teacher-incentive bill might not fit too well on the resume of a chief executive who likes to describe himself as the education governor.

Karl K. Pence, president of MSTA, noted philosophically that the union doesn't expect Glendening to share its views all the time.

Said Pence: "There isn't a single solitary issue that I've had a quid pro quo with him, where I've expected him to do what we wanted just because we supported him."

Cecil Republicans elect to stay home, skip the party

Sometimes Maryland Republicans act like a real political party -- as they did Saturday when they held a spirited and downright interesting debate over whether to allow independents to vote in next year's primary.

And sometimes they don't -- such as when an entire county delegation missed Saturday's state convention.

With an issue vital to the party's future hanging in the balance, all seven central committee members from Cecil County found someplace better to be than at the BWI Sheraton with their fellow Republicans.

Several county delegations cast unanimous yes or no votes on the issue of independents, but only Cecil was united in absenteeism. The proposal to open the primary passed with a margin of eight votes.

"I'm not sure what happened up in Cecil County," said state party chairman Richard D. Bennett.

Clara Campbell, Cecil Republican chairwoman, did not return calls yesterday to explain the county's absence.

The county has long proved frustrating for the GOP. Though Cecil is one of the state's most conservative counties, it stubbornly persists in sending Democrats such as Sen. Walter M. Baker and Dels. Ron Guns, Wheeler R. Baker and David D. Rudolph to the General Assembly.

Young Republican sets sights on higher office

Republican Del. James E. Rzepkowski, the Wunderkind of Anne Arundel politics, broke with some of his closest political allies to support the independents-invited primary. He told the convention the plan would help him when he seeks higher office in 2002.

Rzepkowski, elected in 1994 at age 23, said the offices he is considering include the state Senate and county executive.

That could be bad news for Democratic Sen. James E. DeGrange Sr. or Democratic County Executive Janet S. Owens. Rzepkowski is an articulate campaigner who won handily in a year when three fellow Anne Arundel GOP legislators lost their seats.

Bush is an early leader in selling of president 2000

With the 2000 presidential primary 10 months off, Texas Gov. George W. Bush is winning the button and bumper-sticker polls.

Brian Harlin, proprietor of the GOP Shoppe, said Bush was the clear favorite of buyers of political memorabilia and trinkets at the convention.

"We sell out of Bush stuff all the time," said the conservative entrepreneur.

Pub Date: 5/25/99

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