Week In Review

October 15, 2006

Anne Arundel

Johnson gains bipartisan support

In an unusual show of bipartisanship in a county being fiercely contested by both major parties, five former Anne Arundel County executives - including three Republicans - endorsed the Democratic candidate for chief executive in next month's election.

The five, who represent all but one of the people to hold the office since it was created with the county charter in 1965, posed for pictures in Annapolis on Thursday with George F. Johnson IV. The exception, current executive Democrat Janet Owens, did not attend.

The former executives cited what they said were Johnson's integrity and managerial skills as three-term county sheriff and his willingness to build coalitions. They said he's better-suited than the Republican nominee, Del. John R. Leopold, to uphold the quality of life in the face of extensive building demands.

"I have never endorsed a Democrat before," said Republican John G. Gary, Anne Arundel's executive from 1994 to 1998. "But it's time to stand up for the right man and the right reasons."

Gary took a veiled shot at Leopold, who has been criticized for seeking undue recognition for legislative action: "You will never see George Johnson take credit for something he didn't do."

Leopold, reached by phone after the event, criticized the former executives, saying that to "varying degrees [they] have been far too cozy with the big-money bosses and the development industry." Leopold said their alliance with Johnson indicates that the Democratic nominee supports the same "special-interest politics."

Maryland section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Board won't expand school program

The Anne Arundel County board of education is sticking with its plan to launch the Middle Years program for only 100 pupils at Annapolis, MacArthur and Old Mill North next fall, hesitating to support two proposals to later offer it to the schools' entire populations.

Board members said that they'd rather wait to consider expanding the program - a precursor to the rigorous high school International Baccalaureate classes - until after a policy on magnet schools is developed and a "middle school summit" is held later this month.

"Are we putting the cart before the horse?" asked board member Ned Carey as the board Wednesday considered the superintendent's proposals.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Annapolis

Restaurants face stricter food rules

Annapolis restaurants will face stricter health regulations under a new certification program for food service facility managers. The new program, unanimously approved by the council Monday night, will require restaurants to have managers trained in food handling, maintenance and hygiene.

Alderwoman Classie Gillis Hoyle, a Ward 3 Democrat, introduced the bill after hearing complaints from constituents about improper food handling.

"So many things are going on with food, and we want to make sure that we are protecting our citizens," she said. "I want food handled correctly, and it's a good thing that we'll have someone on site who is responsible. This is a step in the right direction."

Hoyle said that many restaurants already have trained managers in place and that her measure will make sure regulations are uniform. Language and cultural barriers sometimes complicate training efforts, she said.

By July, each of Annapolis' approximately 200 restaurants will be required to have at least one certified food service facility manager available for consultation during business hours. After July 2009, the certified managers must be on site during operating hours. Institutions offering certification courses include Anne Arundel Community College.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

Annapolis

Academy is cited for labor complaint

The Naval Academy violated labor laws and created an environment of "fear" and "intimidation" among civilian employees at an on-campus restaurant, according to an arbitration decision obtained by The Sun.

A federal arbitrator decided the case in favor of about 80 current and former employees who worked at the Officers' and Faculty Club. Several employees alleged that although they didn't take 30-minute lunch breaks, the time was docked from their pay, despite repeated complaints. Union and academy officials are expected to hammer out the terms of payment by Oct. 31; union estimates put the figure at $100,000.

A Naval Academy spokesman declined to comment on the decision or the negotiations..

Maryland section, Tuesday

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