Digest

September 05, 2007

Arundel police will see their moonlighting options grow

The Anne Arundel County Council passed a bill last night allowing uniformed police officers to moonlight as security guards in bingo parlors and some establishments that serve alcohol, despite repeated warnings from the county ethics commission that such an exception could create conflicts of interest.

The bill, approved 6-0, was introduced at the request of County Executive John R. Leopold after a veteran officer sued to block a ban instituted by police Chief James Teare Sr.

Members of the ethics commission called such second jobs an "outsourcing" of police work and said officers could be faced with an "enhanced potential" for conflicts of interest between the businesses that employ them and protecting public safety. The county Police Department has oversight of liquor licenses and gambling.

The bill would allow officers to work in restaurants and bowling alleys, but not in bars or taverns where alcohol is the primary business.

Council Chairman Ronald C. Dillon Jr. said secondary employment opportunities - along with take-home car programs - give taxpayers "more bang for their buck," particularly given police staffing woes. Other council members questioned the commission's logic.

Teare spoke in support of the bill last night, saying his officers' conduct is regulated "not only by department guidelines, but public perception."

Another bill that would tighten restrictions on electronic billboards failed, 5-2.

Justin Fenton

Anne Arundel

: Annapolis

Edgewater man in Route 2 crash

An Edgewater man was killed Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a construction zone near an Annapolis-area intersection, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.

James Bennett Stockett III, 25, tried to merge left from a right-turn-only lane on southbound Route 2 near Forest Drive, swerved back to the right when he saw traffic approaching from behind, and went off the road, past the orange traffic cones marking construction near the Annapolis Town Centre at Parole project, police said. His front tire was punctured, and he was thrown from the motorcycle.

Stockett was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Baltimore County

: Hunt Valley

Track flaw suspends light rail service

Light rail service between Hunt Valley and McCormick Road will be suspended through mid-September because of a flaw in the track, a Maryland Transit Administration official said yesterday.

Henry M. Kay, the MTA's deputy administrator for planning and engineering, said the agency will provide shuttle bus service between McCormick Road and the line's two northernmost stops, Pepper Road and Hunt Valley.

On Friday, MTA inspectors found the track north of McCormick Road to be out of alignment. "It's a safety issue so they shut it down," Kay said. "The danger is that a train could derail there."

Michael Dresser

Harford County

: Fraud

Woman, 23, admits cheating Medicaid

A Harford County woman has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor Medicaid fraud after submitting time sheets for work she did not perform, the state attorney general's office said yesterday.

Samantha Woods Gentry, 23, of the 3500 block of Aldino Road in Churchville received a two-year suspended sentence and was placed on three years' probation.

Baltimore Circuit Judge David Ross also ordered Gentry to pay $12,000 in restitution and a $12,000 penalty.

Investigators said that from July 2003 through April 2006, Gentry was an in-home care provider in a program paid for by Medicaid on an hourly basis. Gentry submitted time sheets indicating that she had provided care from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on more than 500 dates.

As of June 2004, however, Gentry had a full-time job at Harford Memorial Hospital, where she generally worked from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., indicating that the entries she made on time sheets over a two-year period were false, the attorney general's office said.

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