Union chief faults sheriff

Mackert assails petition as rules violation

September 08, 2006|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,sun reporter

The president of the Howard County sheriff's union criticized Sheriff Chuck Cave yesterday for not taking action against employees who improperly circulated a petition on county time supporting his re-election bid.

After learning from a reporter of the petition, Cave said that he distributed an e-mail to staff members the week of Aug. 21 ordering them "to cease and desist" its circulation. He followed up with a letter to his staff, restating the order.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 131 President Andrew Mackert confirmed those notices, but he called the petition a "flagrant violation" of the county rules. He said a civilian employee would call on-duty deputies on their cell phones and ask for permission to add their names to the petition.

Mackert said that one deputy who refused later received a text message on his pager from a civilian colleague expressing her sadness that he was supporting James F. Fitzgerald, Cave's opponent in Tuesday's primary and the president of the Howard County Police Officers' Association, Local 86.

The sheriff's union voted in July to endorse Fitzgerald by a vote of 16 to 6, with 12 members abstaining.

The five-paragraph petition was circulated in response to the union's endorsement.

Cave, who is running for his third term as sheriff, said that once he issued the memos instructing workers to stop any political activity on county time, it stopped.

Yesterday, Cave expressed disappointment that he did not have the full support of his staff.

"This dissension, what's happened within this office itself, has been the worst thing in this whole campaign," he said.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.