Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Sunday, April 28, 2002

20020428 Mayor Dayhoff honored for support of reservists sun

Mayor Dayhoff honored for support of reservists sun
April 28th, 2002

Central County Briefs

Mayor Dayhoff honored for support of reservists

Master Sgt. Thomas B. Beyard of Headquarters Aviation Depot Maintenance Roundout Unit recently presented the Maryland Employer Support for Guard and Reserve State Chair's Award to Westminster Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff.

The award is given to employers who have gone beyond the requirements for employer support of the National Guard. Beyard, Westminster planning director, said the city has always supported his service with the Maryland Army National Guard. Beyard said Dayhoff and the Westminster Common Council also deserve the "My Boss is a Patriot" award for their support of his military service.

The award was presented at a recent Common Council meeting.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

20020423 Baltimore Sun: Westminster property tax rise proposed and Officers disapprove of pension plan

Baltimore Sun: Westminster property tax rise proposed and Officers disapprove of pension plan

Westminster property tax rise proposed

Officers disapprove of police pension plan

April 23, 2002

The Westminster Common Council unveiled last night a proposed $21.9 million spending plan for fiscal 2003 that calls for a 4.8-cent increase in the property tax rate - the city's first increase in five years.

"It's a pretty responsible budget that does two things - it tries to meet the city's current need to provide services and it also tries to look to the future for other needs," said Councilman L. Gregory Pecoraro, chairman of the council's finance committee, which drafted the proposed budget.

In another money-related matter, the council introduced last night an ordinance creating a pension enhancement plan for the city's 43 police officers.

Concern for adequate room in case of a large turnout by police officers prompted the council to move the meeting to a hearing room at the County Office Building. More than half the force showed up.

The proposed 2003 budget, which includes monies for the water and sewer funds as well as building projects, is up $4.6 million from the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Pecoraro said more than half of the money is earmarked for construction of the Longwell Avenue parking deck.

Under the spending plan, city employees will receive a 1 percent cost-of-living raise. This year employees received a 2.5 percent raise, plus $240.

While water and sewer rates will remain the same, the property tax will increase 4.8 cents to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average Westminster home has an assessed value of $125,000 and the homeowner pays $440 in property taxes each year. That will increase to $500 next year.

Pecoraro said the increase could provide the city with about $500,000 in additional revenue.

A public hearing on the proposed budget and tax increase will be held May 6. The council could take action on the proposals as early as May 13.

Local police officers - and several supporters from the Annapolis Police Department - showed up to voice their disapproval of the proposed supplemental retirement plan for the Police Department.

At a cost of $125,000 a year, the city would deposit the equivalent of 5 percent to 9 percent - depending on years of service - of an officer's annual salary into an account similar to a savings plan.

The Westminster Police Association, Local 84, released a statement at the end of the meeting outlining its opposition to the plan.

The organization questioned the viability of the plan to retain officers because its five years' vesting gives officers an excuse to quit in favor of employment by a police department offering the kind of plan they want - a 25-year retirement threshold and 50 percent guaranteed payback.

"Now is the time for the City Council to begin taking care of the employees that take care of the city and keep it running," the statement read.

20020423 Baltimore Sun: Westminster property tax rise proposed and Officers disapprove of pension plan

Monday, April 15, 2002

20020414 Police object to pension proposal

Police object to pension proposal

April 14th, 2002

Police object to pension proposal - Council members say $115,000-a-year package is all city can afford; 'This is not acceptable'

By Athima Chansanchai, Sun Staff, April 14, 2002

A supplemental retirement plan for Westminster's Police Department unveiled at last week's Common Council meeting was supposed to satisfy dual goals of attracting and keeping city officers, but they don't like it. "This is not what they promised. This is not acceptable," said Daniel W. Besseck, International Union of Police Associations representative, who attended Thursday night's emergency meeting of the Westminster Police Association. Eight of 38 association members were in attendance.

Besseck was referring to the plan proposed by Westminster Councilman Roy L. Chiavacci, who serves as chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee. The plan would require the city to deposit the equivalent of 5 percent to 9 percent of an officer's annual salary - depending on years of service - into an account similar to a savings plan. It would cost the city $115,000 a year.

"The council's job is to make sure their employees are taken care of. It should be their primary responsibility. This is a slap in the face," Besseck said.

Members of the Common Council said the plan was a good one and all the city could afford as it faces a $2.3 million deficit.

Besseck's group has been working with Westminster police Local 84 for the last two years to revamp the department's current retirement plan, a state pension system that returns 32 percent to 42 percent of the average of three consecutive years of an officer's highest salaries, after 30 years.

Officers at the meeting said that amount isn't enough to live on, especially if they have a family. One officer said he would receive only $1,026 a month in benefits if he were begin drawing from it when he retires in 2023.

Most officers said they would prefer the city use the Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System, or LEOPS, which returns 50 percent of an officer's salary after 25 years of service. According to the city's studies, this would cost $364,000 a year, or $17 million over 25 years.

"Though we're on a smaller scale than Baltimore City, the overall stress level doesn't change. You still put your life on the line every day," Besseck said.

"What's important here is that we work with the police officers and take into consideration their thoughts and feelings and be responsive to their needs," Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff said. "I truly believe the council worked on this with a sense of caring, depth and integrity.

"I understand clearly that the budget will not allow the city to go in the direction of LEOPS this year, but I would rather that we wait and do LEOPS when it's financially feasible than go to a pension enhancement plan."

Council President Damian L. Halstad said there was an involved series of discussions concerning the retirement options, and of them all, the plan proposed by Chiavacci was the most viable.

"LEOPS is not fiscally possible or prudent," said Halstad. "We're talking about this in a vacuum. We have to remember that there is a $2.3 million shortfall we have to trim from the budget, but the city is still willing to find money to implement this plan. ...

"Some people even view the whole plan as much too generous a windfall for the Police Department. The council showed great commitment to the force by moving this forward."

Police Chief Roger G. Joneckis said he would not comment on the program until he learned more about it.

He mentioned steps the city has taken to improve the department's situation, including pay raises and increased hiring to bring staffing to the full complement of 43 officers.

The union has been pushing for better retirement benefits to keep senior officers from pursuing jobs in other departments.

"They continue to train new people. You can fill bodies but not experience," Besseck said. "Maturity is everything in this job."

Chiavacci hopes officers change their views when they're given an opportunity for personal projections of their supplemental benefits on April 24.

"We tried to craft a plan that was both desirable and affordable, and quite frankly, it's generous," Chiavacci said.

He said he's disappointed by the negative reaction of some officers, but that he wants to hear what they have to say.

"If they did that, they can help us make it better than what it is. I welcome that input," he said.

Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland State Police,

Sunday, April 14, 2002

20020412 President Bill Clinton and the International Criminal Court by Oliver North

President Bill Clinton and the International Criminal Court by Oliver North

Global injustice By Oliver North Friday, April 12, 2002

DULLES, Va. -- On Dec. 3, 1969, Bill Clinton wrote to Col. Eugene Holmes, director of the University of Arkansas ROTC program. In that infamous letter, Clinton stated that he "loathed" the military.

On Dec. 31, 2000, 31 years later -- almost to the day -- Bill Clinton, as commander in chief, proved how much he still loathes America's military by subjecting them to the "justice" of a rogue international court.

On New Year's Eve, just days before boarding Air Force One for the last time with a load of stolen ashtrays and White House towels, Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC), another unaccountable United Nations bureaucracy that became reality this week.

The ICC claims jurisdiction over cases of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and "the crime of aggression," which the U.N. has never defined.

Although a permanent international court has been the globalists' dream since the end of World War II, it wasn't until widespread violence broke out in places like the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s that Kofi Annan and his cohorts went to work.

In July 1998, the U.N. convened the "United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court" in Rome to form a permanent international tribunal to try individuals for "the most serious offenses of global concern."

Once in motion, their court would claim jurisdiction over every person in the world and grant the ICC prosecutor extraordinary powers and ICC officials lifetime immunity.

Read the rest here: Global injustice By Oliver North Friday, April 12, 2002

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

20020408 “Skate parks fill the void” Boris E. Hartl, Carroll County Times Staff Writer

20020408 “Skate parks fill the void” Boris E. Hartl, Carroll County Times Staff Writer

Skate parks fill the void

By Boris E. Hartl, Times Staff Writer
April 08, 2002

Ronald J. Schroers knows the Westminster Skate Park has filled a recreational need in the city since it opened in May 1999.

The city's administrator of recreation and parks also knows, however, that operating a skate park isn't a sure moneymaker.

"I didn't build the skate park to make money," he said. "It was to provide a needed service to the kids."

That's the same attitude shared by Manchester leaders who continue to operate their skate park, but they have yet to recoup their costs.

Manchester officials said their $35,000 skate park, which opened in June 2001, will make money in the future. Finance Director Kelly Baldwin said the town has made about $2,000 from June 20 to Dec. 1. The costs have been kept to a minimum because no full-time staff members have been hired in connection with the park, Councilwoman Mary Minderlein said.

The council could decide in the future whether to hire personnel for the park, she said.

Schroers said a bulk of his operating expenses came from salaries for employees, insurance and maintenance. Last year, Westminster operated the park for $19,000 and generated $13,600.

He said the revenue figures have increased yearly, however. The city did add $19,000 worth of new equipment ranging from a street spine to a kicker ramp in 2000. "I set it up to break even to cover my expenses," Schroers said. "Right now, I'm bare-bonesing it as much as I can."

Westminster Councilman Gregory Pecoraro said the skate park is just one component of the city's recreation program, and officials realize that some programs make more money than others do.

"The point is we are doing a number of things to provide the recreational opportunities that the people of Westminster want. We are providing an opportunity for young people to use skate parks in a place that is safe."

In Mount Airy, town officials have used the revenues generated from the park to make improvements when needed.

"There's no hesitation because the park is making money," Councilman David Pyatt said.

The town used some of the $100,000 officials collected from developers and a $32,000 county award to build the park with 10 ramps and other equipment in 1999.

The town has sold 52 nonresident passes and 13 resident passes which help to contribute to a $3,680 earning so far in 2002, according to Town Hall numbers.

From July 1 to Feb. 28, the town received $19,700 in revenue compared to $6,907 in expenses, but the figure doesn't included wages for the park attendants, since the money is taken from the town's Parks and Recreation budget. In Fiscal Year 2000-2001, the town made $35,574 with $7,852 in expenses.

Councilwoman Laurie V. Hager said it was her opinion that the park is doing well financially because, in part, the town had a large base of people to draw from including those in Frederick County.

"There seems to be a lot of interest in skating and this, in of itself, is a reason for a park," she said.

Carroll County skaters could gain another skating option as Sykesville leaders are looking to build a facility soon.

Between 15 and 20 municipalities in Maryland operate skate parks, said James Peck, director of research for the Maryland Municipal League.

Reach staff writer Boris E. Hartl at 410-751-5902 or
©Carroll County Online 2002