… County Council privately discussing officials’ payouts …
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
10:34 AM EST, December 20, 2011
Baltimore County Council members are privately discussing the lucrative pension deals of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and former councilmen Sam Moxley and Vince Gardina.
A Sun editorial published this Sunday highlighted the men’s retirement benefits. An amendment to a 2010 pension reform law — which reduced county workers’ benefits — allowed them to return to work for the county and accrue new pension benefits while earning their salary.
“It sounds like double dipping to me,” Councilwoman Cathy Bevins said. The Middle River Democrat said the issue is “worth a discussion with my colleagues.”
Moxley now serves as the county’s lobbyist, and Gardina heads the environment department. The three men, who were all on the council for the vote, will get lump sums when they retire — benefiting by at least $160,000 each.
No formal action is being planned so far.
“We’re talking about it,” said Councilman Tom Quirk, a Democrat from Catonsville. “That’s as far as we’ve gotten.”
Only two members of the current council were in office when the law was passed – Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr. and Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver.
“We passed the amendment, but whether or not they were going to take advantage of that, we didn’t know,” said Oliver, a Randallstown Democrat.
Oliver said he didn’t think there is anything wrong with the pensions.
“I wouldn’t stop anyone from making a living to support their family,” he said.
Olszewski, a Dundalk Democrat, said he voted for the law because if someone “wants to collect that pension and there’s a need for him to work in the county system, I think he should have the ability to do that.”
Councilman David Marks said he planned to talk to the administration and his colleagues about the pensions. He received some emails from constituents after the Sun editorial was published, he said.
“A handful of people have raised concerns about the cost,” said Marks, a Perry Hall Republican. “I’m not making any judgments or decisions right now. … I’m just going to talk to my colleagues and explore the matter further.”
Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun