Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Problems At Pasadena Post Office

Back in June, an article appeared in the Maryland Gazette highlighting some startling allegations from employees of the Pasadena Post Office. At the time, an internal post office investigation revealed that 90% of their total workforce said they witnessed some form of workplace harassment. Likewise, complaints filed with the Post Office Equal Employment Opportunity Office showed that some felt the local postmaster, Launda Griffin, showed preferential treatment towards African American employees and retaliates against those who file complaints.

Apparently, not much has changed at the Mountain Rd establishment. Ms. Griffin still retains her position. In the same way, some employees feel they remain in a hostile work environment. Now, the Post Office has threatened to transfer any employee who talks about the problems to their customers or the media. According to my sources, they recently held a meeting demanding silence about the issues that continue to ail the Post Office.

Really, I see one common denominator that keeps this controversy alive. Instead of promising a massive transfer of dissatisfied employees, the regional office should consider a change in management. Even if Ms. Griffin and her staff have attempted to mend past wounds, it's obviously not resonating with the line staff.

In the past, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore regional office defended Griffin as an "excellent manager." Well, part of leadership involves motivating people to ensure the maximum amount of productivity. Clearly, most of the 37 or so employees dread going to work each day. Therefore, it's time for the Post Office to consider the most practical change to ensure their customers continue to receive the best possible service.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Minimum Wage increase while unemployment hovers around 10%

So it seems that there is a going to be a push by Progressive MD to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. I can tell you of 1 job that will not exist if this happens. You see I own a small locksmith company and have recently hired a 19 year old young man to become an apprentice. I pay him less than $10 an hour and to be honest with you he isn't worth what I am paying him. Now I do not say this to be mean hearted or rude but I am paying him to learn. For the most part he gets to ride along and watch. As time progresses I will begin to let him start doing some of the work with close supervision until I am sure that he is competent enough that I would let him work on my locks on my house. This will take about a year of me paying him a little less than $10 an hour or with taxes, uniforms, unemployment insurance and salary it will cost me about $20,ooo to teach someone. Who by the way once he can do it proficiently will expect a raise to probably somewhere close to $15 an hour. Now I am not crying or complaining about having to do this because it ensures me that I get the kind of technician I want representing my company. My complaint is that coming up with some arbitrary minimum wage number and making everyone comply can hardly make it worth for skilled trades to hire and train apprentices without inflating our cost to our customers in order to pay someone a higher than deserved salary. I feel that if we are going to make a minimum wage than maybe we should make it $20 an hour in order to make it easier to get by for people. I know that $20 an hour sounds preposterous but if you really think about it the idea that government is going to decide your contract between you and your employer sounds equally as preposterous.

Monday, January 17, 2011

10 Years For Murder in Anne Arundel

If anyone reads the daily police briefs, it's no secret that Anne Arundel County has seen a rash of serious crimes. To their credit, Police Detectives often identify and arrest these perpetrators. After that, we rely on Prosecutors to aggressively pursue the charges and a bench willing to dish out lengthy punishments to those deemed guilty.

Last week, a Maryland City resident entered an Alford Plea, thus conceding the state had enough evidence to convict her of a December 2009 fatal stabbing of a man that supposedly owed her drug money. For her heinous crime, this criminal received an unimpressive ten year sentence. After she earns her inevitable good conduct credits, it's likely this person will roam the streets again sometime in the near future.

I would to hear an explanation from Judge William Mulford, a Bob Ehrlich appointee and former criminal defense attorney. After all, even if Prosecutors and the Defense agree to a plea bargain, a judge does not have to bless their agreement. In fact, s/he must determine if the agreed upon punishment fits the scope of the crime. In this case, Judge Mulford has failed the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

Make no mistake, I plan to hold the bench responsible for their decisions. Sadly, Anne Arundel County has too many lenient judges among their ranks. Luckily, they must face the voters every fifteen years. It's time to send some packing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Get To Know Jerry

To avoid the inevitable questions, I've decided to tell people a little about myself. First of all, like all the contributors here, I receive no compensation for this venture. Therefore, I cannot invest more time on this blog than I do on my career, education or family. In other words, many people have ideas about what I should investigate and opine on. While I love suggestions, I have to limit myself to an extent.

For the record, I am a conservative. Though I left the Democratic Party after the 2000 election, I re-registered with party as a show of support for my fathers Senate run in 2006. He never encouraged or pressured this move, but it felt right at the time. To this day, I do not regret this decision. Moving forward, I decided my ideology more closely aligns with the Republicans. Moreover, as of December 28th, I am once again a member of the GOP. That said, I am not an apologist for anyone or any political party, In the other words, I hold both sides to the same standard.

Naturally, this blog will likely make me new friends and some enemies. Unfortunately, it may also turn former allies into adversaries. I only hope everyone remembers that I am only spouting my opinions. I don't maintain friendships based on political leanings. I hope others ultimately feel the same way. After all, we're lucky to live in a nation that encourages diverse political opinions.

I am really looking forward to working on this blog. I only hope that all of us have enough time to make it a relevant entity in local politics.

Moving to Annapolis For Three Months

With the start of session, legislators from all over the state will leave their bailiwicks and take up comfort in a luxury hotel or a private rental home. Of course, the taxpayers foot the majority of this cost. In addition, we'll cover their cost of traveling to Annapolis as well as their meals. Still, it's a justifiable expense to ensure the citizens living in far eastern or western suburbs of this state receive their due representation.

Sadly, the state of Maryland doesn't limit this perk to legislators traveling sizable distances. Instead, even those living in Anne Arundel County can take advantage of these benefits. While some such as Senators Ed DeGrange and John Astle routinely decline these gratuities, other so-called fiscal conservatives view it as an entitlement.

Now, I've heard excuses ranging from age to late sessions as the reasons for Anne Arundel legislators expensing hotel rooms. After reviewing the transcripts of the last few sessions, it's extremely rarely to find a meeting that extends beyond 8:20pm. If that's too late for some, perhaps we need more energetic leadership. And, I don't want to hear about the need to bond with fellow legislators after-hours. While I see some validity in that argument, I simply encourage them to limit their alcohol intake and drive home later in the evening.

Make no mistake, we intend to publish the expense accounts of the entire Anne Arundel County Delegation. Some may feel as though the public doesn't care based on the results of the last election. Nonetheless, we intend make it a visible issue over the next four years. I suspect voters will not overlook this again in 2014.

Anne Arundel Delegation

On the eve of the 2011 Maryland Legislative Session, the Anne Arundel County Delegation unanimously selected Bob Costa as chairman and Don Dwyer as vice-chair. While I am glad the Democrats didn't change the rules after seeing the results of the election, I am wondering why Republicans apparently fumbled their first snap.

For the record, I applaud the choice of Bob Costa. I've met him on many occasions and view him as an affable and straight-forward guy. I often wonder why he chose politics. After all, very few of his colleagues possess the candidness and honesty that epitomize Costa.

Don Dwyer, on the other hand, often engages in petty battles that have little, if any, effect on the daily lives of his constituents. For instance, Dwyer preoccupies himself with gay marriage. While I agree with his sentiments on this issue, I really feel there's more pressing concerns facing the community.

Also, Dwyer favors a confrontational style that ultimately renders him ineffective as a legislator. Of course, Dwyer then blames his membership in the minority party as the reason why he cannot pass meaningful legislation. Meanwhile, party affiliation doesn't hamper Bob Costa in neighboring District 33.

Over the last few election cycles, Republicans have positioned themselves nicely in Anne Arundel County. And, their efforts have helped them seize control of the local delegation. Therefore, I am curious why they've risked alienating people by elevating a controversial character like Dwyer such a visible position.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mike Busch changes the rules?

So it seems Mike Busch has decided to change the way the county delegations are decided. While Dems. controlled AA county the rule was if a district encompassed more than 1 county those delegates got only a single vote for the entire district while delegates in districts that are solely in AA county each got a vote. Now that it is Rep. controlled it seems that Busch is beginning some retribution upon (R) members of the AA delegation by moving office assignments in order to punish some delegates. See in MD it is one set of rules as long as it works to the ruling classes advantage but as soon as it doesn't it is time to change them. While it should not be of great surprise to anyone who has payed attention to the way things are done in Annapolis it does help solidify the argument given by some friends who have already fled MD for less hostile states.

Creation of State Debts

Based on published reports, Governor Martin O'Malley must find a way to raise $600 million to balance the FY 2012 budget. Therefore, he finds himself with only two options: curtail spending or raise taxes. Considering he has a willing legislature at his disposal, I suspect he'll opt for the latter. After all, with session still a week away, some Democrats and Republicans have already pre-filed legislation that would add to an ever growing deficit.

First, Democratic Delegate Melvin L. Stukes proposed a bill that would grant $500,000 to constructing a Heritage Center in Baltimore City. Likewise, Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell asked for the same thing in her chamber. Second, Republican Delegates Adelaide Eckardt and Jeannie Haddaway along with Democrat Rudolph Cane seek $300,000 for the "design and construction of a replica of the Choptank River Lighthouse located in Cambridge".

Sure, these projects may have importance to some in local communities, but I fail to see the cumulative benefit for Maryland taxpayers. To me, that should serve as a litmus test for the allocation of state funds. Of course, in this economic environment, even the most pressing needs warrant the utmost scrutiny.

Come next week, I am certain will see more of this from Delegates and Senators on both sides of the aisle. Rest assured, you'll likely read about it here, especially if the Anne Arundel County Delegation decides participate in this fiscal irresponsibility.

Standard Disclaimer

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed by the individual contributors here, do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of the group as a whole. While we agree on many issues, occasionally we share a differing opinion.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

County Council Bill Regarding Monetary Settlements

Councilman Benoit has proposed a County Council bill requiring all legal settlements over $100k be authorized by the council. The bill covers any legal settlement over $100,000 which limits council oversight to the largest cases. In the past three years only two cases exceeded that amount. Council approval is required for more minor expenditures and in my opinion this shouldn't be any different. We will just have to wait to see where everyone comes down on this one but I can imagine that County Executive is going to push to get this shot down in order to preserve the power he has.
A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Jan. 18 in the Council Chambers and all are encouraged to come and listen and chime in on the debate. Check the council website for details.