Speak Out!

March 19, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- The Anne Arundel County Council is discussing whether to raise the pay of the next county executive from $102,000 a year (County Executive Janet S. Owens' current salary) to $125,000 in 2007 and $130,000 in 2010. Several council members say the executive's salary is woefully inadequate to attract qualified candidates. Members will also take up legislation that would offer annual cost-of-living increases for members of the next council. A council member's current minimum salary of $36,000 would rise to nearly $40,000 by 2010. Most members are opposed to a council raise.

Do you support a pay raise for the next county executive and the County Council?

Salaries should equal median income

In a democracy, elected officials are supposed to be the voice and conscience of the people in government. ... Since integrity, honor and principle have no price tag, I suggest that the County Executive pay scale should be based on the median income of their constituency. Perhaps, then, she/he would be ever mindful of what it is like to live in the real world, with a sparse paycheck. The Anne Arundel County Council is already paid too much for a part-time job.

Maryellen O. Brady Edgewater

We want your opinions

ISSUE:

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens is pushing for a math-and-science magnet program for Meade High School, and she says a major county employer - defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. - is ready to become a partner in the effort.

Local, state and military leaders have pursued a magnet program at Meade to bolster the school's academic reputation and attract thousands of defense workers, mostly from Northern Virginia, who are considering whether to relocate to Fort Meade amid base realignment.

Owens put forth the idea of the magnet program at Meade, to the surprise of school officials, when she presented her legislative agenda in January. She has sought $2 million from the state to fund the project.

But school board members say that they have yet to take up the issue of magnet schools in the county, and it could be years before they do so. A magnet would be a county-run public school with a specialized course of study that would be open to students outside its regular attendance zone.

Board members also have said in the past that they would consider different types of magnet programs, perhaps for the performing arts, and that Meade may not be the right place for the program if it is created.

YOUR VIEW:

Should there be a math-and-science program at Meade High School? And would such a program bolster the school's reputation? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published Sunday.

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