Council members debate merits of pension legislation...

ARUNDEL DIGEST

January 08, 2002

Council members debate merits of pension legislation

The merits of a pension bill were debated last night by the County Council in a lengthy legislative session punctuated by the groans of county employees, who fear that elected officials could take away negotiated benefits.

Council members John J. Klocko III and Cathleen M. Vitale, both Republicans, and Democrat Barbara D. Samorajczyk worry that the proposed policy, which would allow employees to retire with a full pension at any age as long as they have worked for the county for 30 years, would benefit only a small number of workers. About 60 of Anne Arundel's 2,600 government employees - excluding police, fire, jail and school personnel - would be eligible this year.

The cost, estimated to be as much as $3 million this year including other provisions, and the chance that retired employees could return as consultants or seasonal works are also of concern.

The bill has strong support, however, from council members Shirley Murphy and Pamela G. Beidle, Democrats who said last night that the legislation should be adopted without amendment because it was negotiated as part of a labor contract. The bill was still being debated late last night.

Current county personnel policy allows workers to retire with a full pension at age 55 with 30 years' employment. Otherwise, they risk losing benefits.

Northeast teen charged with having gun in school

A 15-year-old freshman at Northeast High School in Pasadena was arrested and charged with bringing a semiautomatic handgun to school yesterday, Anne Arundel County police said.

Police said the gun was unloaded but that the 15-year-old boy had two clips of ammunition carrying six rounds each.

County school officials said the boy showed the gun to a student who reported it to the school's administrators about 9 a.m. The freshman was charged in a juvenile citation with possession of a deadly weapon on school property and was released to his parents, said Officer Michael Krok, a county police spokesman.

Cause sought in accidents that killed four on roads

Police were investigating yesterday the causes of two accidents on Anne Arundel County roads that left four people dead.

Three died in an accident Sunday night on Baltimore-Washington Parkway, police said yesterday.

A 35-year-old man who was a front-seat passenger in a Lincoln sedan was killed after the car, which was southbound on the parkway, was hit head-on by a Ford Explorer, said police, who did not identify the victim because his relatives had not been notified.

The sport utility vehicle crossed the grass median from the northbound lanes of the parkway near Route 32, said U.S. Park Police Sgt. Scott Fear.

An elderly couple from Puerto Rico in the back seat of the Lincoln also were killed in the accident about 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

Michael Reck, 27, of Severn, driver of the SUV, was treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center and was released yesterday, authorities said.

A Laurel man was fatally injured about 15 minutes earlier Sunday after he lost control of his 1992 Pontiac on the southbound ramp from Interstate 97 to southbound Route 3, state police said.

Clayton M. Queen, 50, was taken to North Arundel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

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