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Expense Accounts

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NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | April 7, 1999
The Howard County Council achieved at least a temporary truce this week in its long, partisan, internal battle over personal expense accounts.How long it will last, and whether anyone but party activists care, isn't clear.Although Ellicott City Republican Christopher J. Merdon says "we're trying to get along and build up trust in each other," and fellow GOP member Allan H. Kittleman agrees, both voted against a budget resolution sponsored by Chairman C. Vernon Gray, an East Columbia Democrat, at Mondaynight's meeting.
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NEWS
May 2, 2012
Your recent article about corporate contributions to candidates is worth reading ("O'Malley weighs donor changes," April 30). However, the practice of big business being involved behind the scenes is not new. Companies with employees having expense accounts in the past have "suggested" they send personal checks for themselves and wife and carry the amount on their expense accounts showing entertainment (dinner) with clients or customers. If employees were limited by budget restrictions in the amount that could be submitted on the expense account, it was waived to accommodate the "contribution.
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NEWS
By Gady A. Epstein and Gady A. Epstein,SUN STAFF | December 10, 1998
Howard County Council members are taking pains to be polite to each other in their first week in office, but a couple of their partisan philosophical differences are clear enough already.At the council's first substantive meeting yesterday morning, Democratic Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray and Republican member Allan H. Kittleman hinted they're heading for a squabble over individual council members' expense accounts, and the council held its first party-line vote.The council opened yesterday's meeting with a private session to interview Sheila M. Tolliver, the only candidate to succeed former council administrator Christopher Emery, a Republican who resigned the day after Democrats took back control of the council in the November election.
NEWS
By JOANNA DAEMMRICH and JOANNA DAEMMRICH,SUN REPORTER | February 20, 2006
It's just past 6 a.m., dark and chilly, and much of Maryland's capital is still asleep. Sailboats bob at a deserted City Dock. A taxi idles by a silent State House. But around the corner, four senators are striding down the fourth-floor corridor of their hotel. Did they get an emergency call from the governor? Are they rushing out to a pre-dawn hearing? Nope, this happens to be an even more important appointment. The two pairs of women whip past the elevators without breaking stride. As they turn the corner, Sen. Paula C. Hollinger keeps count.
NEWS
January 20, 1999
THE NEW DAY expected to dawn with the election of a new Howard County Council wasn't evident in the panel's recent argument over expense accounts. Individual expense budgets were increased, but the council vote broke along the same partisan lines seen three years ago on the issue. In 1996, the council, then with a Republican majority, voted to limit each member's expenses to $4,800 a year. There was no formal limit at the time. The action was viewed as a slap at Democrat C. Vernon Gray, who typically spent more than that.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Doug Donovan and Tom Pelton and Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF | April 5, 2004
Dr. Terrence Fitzgerald, a Green Party candidate for the City Council running in the Nov. 2 election, said he plans to talk about the recent dust-up over the council's expense accounts as he campaigns for a seat representing Northwest Baltimore. "I will bring it up as an example of the kind of sloppiness and poor accountability that goes along with more than 60 years of one-party rule," said Fitzgerald, a first-time candidate and physician from Mount Washington who works as medical director of an addiction treatment center.
NEWS
May 2, 2012
Your recent article about corporate contributions to candidates is worth reading ("O'Malley weighs donor changes," April 30). However, the practice of big business being involved behind the scenes is not new. Companies with employees having expense accounts in the past have "suggested" they send personal checks for themselves and wife and carry the amount on their expense accounts showing entertainment (dinner) with clients or customers. If employees were limited by budget restrictions in the amount that could be submitted on the expense account, it was waived to accommodate the "contribution.
NEWS
April 1, 2004
LITTLE-KNOWN, few-strings-attached municipal expense accounts die hard. Such is the legacy of the $5,000-a-year perk enjoyed by Baltimore City Council members that was summarily abolished yesterday. It's a fitting end to the expense accounts that were initiated in 1968 in a stealth move to get around the legal and political implications of the council voting itself a pay raise. The council expense accounts should have been revamped years ago. Largely unregulated, they amount to small change - totaling about $100,000 a year - in a city budget that tops $2 billion.
NEWS
By Michael Hill and Michael Hill,Staff Writer | October 1, 1992
The state prosecutor has cleared Del. Thomas Hattery of any criminal improprieties in his legislative expense accounts, but the report doesn't come close to cleaning up the mud the candidates are flinging in the 6th District congressional race.Roscoe Bartlett, the GOP candidate, leveled the charges of improper expenses against Mr. Hattery, the Frederick Democrat who defeated incumbent Beverly B. Byron in the primary.In a seven-page letter to Mr. Bartlett, prosecutor Stephen Montanarel li cited state regulations to explain why Mr. Hattery's procedure for billing the state for his lodging and meal expenses was not illegal.
NEWS
August 7, 1995
It is difficult to reconcile the Carroll commissioners' prowess in keeping tight control over their mileage and per diem expenses with their extravagance when it comes to purchasing property.It is all well and good for the commissioners to save taxpayers a few thousand dollars on expenses. But they do a disservice to those same taxpayers when they blow several million dollars on an ill-conceived plan to purchase the former Telemecanique site to house the education department.The commissioners -- who are paid commuting mileage between their homes and the county office building and receive a per diem payment each day they conduct county business -- spent so little that the normally critical Carroll County Taxpayers' Association paid them a compliment.
NEWS
By Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella and Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | May 13, 2004
Federal prosecutors postponed the scheduled grand jury testimony yesterday of Baltimore City Council members whose personal and professional dealings are the subject of a wide-ranging grand jury probe, according to a source familiar with the investigation. In other action yesterday, the city's spending board scrapped the council's long-standing expense account system that U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio has been examining as part of his eight-month investigation. "It was time to make sure we were being accountable and responsible," council President Sheila Dixon said yesterday.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Doug Donovan and Tom Pelton and Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF | April 5, 2004
Dr. Terrence Fitzgerald, a Green Party candidate for the City Council running in the Nov. 2 election, said he plans to talk about the recent dust-up over the council's expense accounts as he campaigns for a seat representing Northwest Baltimore. "I will bring it up as an example of the kind of sloppiness and poor accountability that goes along with more than 60 years of one-party rule," said Fitzgerald, a first-time candidate and physician from Mount Washington who works as medical director of an addiction treatment center.
NEWS
April 1, 2004
LITTLE-KNOWN, few-strings-attached municipal expense accounts die hard. Such is the legacy of the $5,000-a-year perk enjoyed by Baltimore City Council members that was summarily abolished yesterday. It's a fitting end to the expense accounts that were initiated in 1968 in a stealth move to get around the legal and political implications of the council voting itself a pay raise. The council expense accounts should have been revamped years ago. Largely unregulated, they amount to small change - totaling about $100,000 a year - in a city budget that tops $2 billion.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF | April 1, 2004
Mayor Martin O'Malley said last night that he would eliminate the City Council's unusual, nearly $100,000-a-year expense account system, replacing it with a process that complies with federal tax laws. "We're doing away with any ambiguity about whether this is supplemental income for the council," O'Malley said. "It is being switched to a reimbursable system, as it's generally done in the private sector." The new system, which will take effect today, will require the 19 council members to follow the same process to be reimbursed for expenses that other city employees, and most other city and county councils, must follow.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton, Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella and Tom Pelton, Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | March 28, 2004
As part of their months-long investigation into the Baltimore City Council, federal prosecutors are examining an unusual expense account system that pays council members $5,000 a year with no oversight and permits them to pocket money they don't spend on city business. The expense accounts, which cost taxpayers almost $100,000 a year, have been used by the council for at least 20 years, with few taking notice. But in recent months, the accounts have drawn the attention of U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio, whose office began a grand jury investigation of the 19 council members' finances in September.
FEATURES
By Annie Linskey and John Woestendiek and Annie Linskey and John Woestendiek,SUN STAFF | December 11, 2003
Just how difficult is it to spend $367.10 on dinner for two at a Baltimore restaurant? Not as hard as you might think, according to Baltimore restaurateurs, including the manager of the very same restaurant where former Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris, using an off-the-books expense account, spent that amount on dinner with an unidentified female in January 2002. Norris was indicted yesterday on charges of misusing Baltimore Police Department funds to pay for affairs with several women, federal prosecutors said.
NEWS
By Tom Pelton, Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella and Tom Pelton, Doug Donovan and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | March 28, 2004
As part of their months-long investigation into the Baltimore City Council, federal prosecutors are examining an unusual expense account system that pays council members $5,000 a year with no oversight and permits them to pocket money they don't spend on city business. The expense accounts, which cost taxpayers almost $100,000 a year, have been used by the council for at least 20 years, with few taking notice. But in recent months, the accounts have drawn the attention of U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio, whose office began a grand jury investigation of the 19 council members' finances in September.
NEWS
May 12, 1996
Bigger expense accounts, better governance?I have read most of the recent letters to the editor about how big expense accounts are buying me better government. If you buy all this jazz, let me sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.The base pay for Howard County Councilman C. Vernon Gray has gone up 230 percent since he came into office, and he personally voted for most of this, while voting to hold down the pay for all other employees in the county.County Council membership is considered a part-time job. Mr. Gray gets medical coverage from two sources, and two pension plans because he is both in a "position of trust" in Howard County, and a member of the "classified service" with the state.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Paul Duke and Paul Duke,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | October 12, 2003
City Room, by Arthur Gelb. Putnam. 672 pages. $29.95. The recent upheaval at The New York Times stemming from a reporter's elaborate fabrications shocked the journalistic community everywhere. After all, such things weren't supposed to happen to the good gray lady long regarded as the queen of American newspapers. The scandal evoked a torrent of questions about the Times' policies and whether its golden reputation was overblown. Arthur Gelb, who started out as a copyboy and worked his way up to managing editor over a 45-year span, gives a generally glowing review of the paper's achievements while taking us on a revealing and captivating walk through the City Room.
NEWS
By Gail Gibson and Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF | April 11, 2003
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark apologized to the public yesterday after announcing the federal indictment of an intelligence officer on charges of drug dealing, saying the officer had "disgraced this department and hurt our trust with the people of this city." Clark's forceful rebuke of indicted officer Eduardo Munoz Jr. came as Maryland's U.S. attorney acknowledged for the first time his office's investigation of a separate police matter - former Commissioner Edward T. Norris' use of an off-the-books expense account during his tenure.
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