Baltimore County’s old-boy pension plan

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Stephen G. Samuel Moxley and Vincent Gardina all have something in common — double-dipping (“Halfway ethical,” Dec. 28).

Mr. Gardina, who held five consecutive terms on the Baltimore County Council is now head of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability. That’s a position Mr. Kamenetz created just for him, a payback if you will. Mr. Gardina was owed a favor as he donated nearly $160,000 to Mr. Kamenetz’s campaign. I could say more about Mr. Moxley but I’ll let someone from Catonsville do that.

Through an 11th hour amendment, when no one was looking, they all voted on an exception in the pension payouts in Baltimore County to benefit themselves. If asked, Messrs. Gardina and Moxley will tell you they didn’t know that they’d be working for the county when casting their votes. Really?

Mr. Kamenetz hides behind his chief of staff, Don Mohler with a “no comment” or a claim that he has been “open” about his retirement benefits (whatever that means) or my favorite, “It’s an old issue.” So does “old” make it a non-issue?

They are lying. If you pay attention to Baltimore County politics you will see that there is a tremendous amount of old-boy networking known as cronyism going on. This exception to the pension rule was made in order to keep difficult-to-fill positions full (like school bus drivers) — not executive positions.

Why are these guys allowed to draw or bank retirement benefits while continuing to work for the county? Not only are the retirement benefits they receive paid at a higher percentage than those of most county employees, the salaries that these officials are making (in addition to their sweetheart retirement benefits) are 3-to-5 times more than what most county employees and teachers make. This is also on the heels of furlough threats for other county workers.

The only person on the council who dared call a spade a spade was Cathy Bevins from Middle River. She made the double-dipping comment in December, but I haven’t seen her say anything in print since then. I am sure she offended Messrs. Kamenentz, Gardina and Moxley. How dare she? This is her first term, so it would not be surprising to hear that she was shouted down for making such an assertion. Many of these arrogant cronies have been diving into the county coffers for years! Only we can stop them.

The more I learn about this, the angrier I get at their self-serving behavior. People in Baltimore County are asleep at the switch. Stop! Do not vote Democratic across the board blindly or because of name recognition. Let me be clear, I do not have a political agenda. I have a “what’s fair” agenda. I am a registered independent taxpayer who is anti-old-boy network.

Elaine Williams, Middle River

Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun

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