(Bel Air, MD) – The Harford County Department of Public Works has
announced that the Tollgate Yard Trim Drop-off Site located at 703 North Tollgate Road will be closing all operations on July 1, 2009 until further notice.
The closure was necessary in order to meet a final cut imposed by the Harford County Council to the FY2010 Operating Budget which removed an additional 5% of funding from nearly all county departments and agencies.
Harford County residents will still be able to drop off yard trim directly at the Harford Waste Disposal Center’s Mulch and Compost Site, which is located at 3135 Scarboro Road in Street, Maryland.
Current operating hours at the Scarboro site are Monday through Friday from 7:00am until 3:00pm, and Saturday from 8:00am until 2:00pm. Effective Saturday, July 11, 2009 the hours at the Mulch and Compost Site will change to 7:00am until 3:00pm, Monday through Saturday.
According to the county over 120,000 trips are made to Tollgate each year. How many people will be driving to Scarboro or just dumping their yard waste anywhere? This is really dumb as far as closings.
I hope they do end up reopening this site next fiscal year. I remember when the county closed the other sites. Two drop-off sites is not enough, one in the corner of the county is terrible. The lines at Scarboro on Saturday can cost you an hour before the closing. I can not imagine how bad it will be now.
I would like to have this site kept open as well, even if that means I have to pay a fee to use the site. Maybe there could be a charge per bag or per vehicle. The more you drop off, the more you pay. I’d rather pay Harford county than HSS to take my yard waste.
A County Employee says
Well now, this is the problem that elected officials face not just this year, but every year. If a “fee” is proposed for a county service, then citizens get up in arms and say “a fee is just another form of tax”. No official wants to be accused of raising taxes, right?
That’s part of why Harford County and most every Maryland county had budget trouble. The state could not balance their budget, so instead they just changed their rules and KEPT revenues they collected for the counties. So your STATE elected officials didn’t “raise taxes” did they? No, they just took your money that was supposed to come here.
When word got around that a library branch might actually close, suddenly its users rose up and said they would raise funds, etc. My question is, where were you before?
county employee says
not a lot of coments here. The no tax freeloaders want open libraries and drop off sites open (govt services), but feel that the “fat” should come from some other department, typical.
I’ll give Craig the benefit of the doubt and assume that Tollgate was closed because it is nearing capacity. Otherwise – the decision to close it was simply retribution by Craig against Taxpayers for putting the breaks on reckless County Spending. I’m going to say it again – a 45% increase in the County Operating Budget from 2005 to 2009, $420 Million to $610 Million.
As many of us have said over and over again – no one expects services for free. Obviously taxes are necessary to maintain a reasonable level of Government and Social Services.
There is plenty of fat in our Local Government. We just went through “cutting” and our Government is still functioning. Everytime Craig cuts the budget, it is another admission that he has been over-taxing us.
Phil Dirt says
county employee, do you understand that namecalling is a sure way to make folks disregard any statements you make that are actually useful?
I have not seen any “no tax freeloaders” here on the Dagger. Read the posts carefully. Does “less taxes” really equal “no taxes”? Do you often resort to outrageous exaggeration to make a point? Here’s a tip: it doesn’t work.
The Other County Employee says
Here is the frustration for county employess who read many of the posts here – especially those relating to “the 9% raise” last year. Here are some facts relating to the pay process for county employees over the years.
Historically, prior to the last 5 years or so, the county pay scale included a series of “step increases” with 2 “ifs”. IF the employee got a satisfactory performance review, and IF the county executive decided to award a step increase, then the employee got an automatic 5% pay increase that year.
So, simply, the automatic raise you got was 5%…and that was BEFORE any COLA adjustment that was granted. The COLA in most given years was 2% or 3%. So doing the math, the annual raise given almost EVERY year was a total of either 7 or 8%.
Towards the end of the Harkins administration, a payroll study was done. By comparing to other regional public and private entities, it was determined that the step increases should be REDUCED to 3% (plus and COLA that was granted).
Last year, the Craig administration initiated ANOTHER payroll study. The final result was a new structure that ELIMINATED the entire “step increase” structure.
County employees now have job titles and a wage structure set up in a “pay range”. In other words, you are hired for a position that has a minimum and a maximum salary. The county executive now has the ability to grant a raise of ANY given amount, not an established step.
That could mean a 1% across the board raise, a $100 raise, or no raise. It was sold to us in employee meetings as a way for the administration to provide “at least a minimal raise in lean years” and a greater raise in boom years.
There was no employee that I know of who did not expect that this would herald in an era of significantly smaller pay increases. The consensus was, we would be lucky to ever see as much as a 3% raise again.
A major portion of the study also showed that county employees were earning somewhat less than those in similar positions in other public and private entities (and yes, they looked at both – including the benefits package). Health care costs to employees were also raised to bring those in line as well.
To help “sell” this new package to employees, the 9% increase was offered up as a bit of a consolation prize. Keep in mind, that in essence, this raise was basically a double step increase. 3% regular step, 3% COLA, and 3% in addition.
So on face value, 9% does indeed seem like a big bump. At the same time realize, that this bump came at a future price. The days of big raises were likely gone for good.
Those who have been critical of Craig for doing this should realize that the long-term savings the county would realize by giving employees less money in the future and charging them more for their benefits will be pretty significant.
I’m NOT complaining about this, by the way. This was a fair-market based decision and good conservative fiscal management. It puts a huge hit on the future earning capacity of county employees, but those are the breaks.
I just wanted to lend some perspective and give rise to the notion that sometimes there is a whole lot more behind the picture that is presented.
The Other County Employee says
Here’s something else that is troubling…
EVERYONE wants government to “trim the fat” from the budget. But each taxpayer has a different definition of what is need or what isn’t.
If you don’t have kids or grandkids, you likely could care less about the Parks and Rec programs offered. If you are not a senior citizen, you probably think the senior center budgets could be trimmed way back. Don’t use the libraries? Cut THEIR budget. Live in a condo or townhouse? Who needs yard waste drop off.
The challenge lies in the fact that County Government has to serve ALL of these many populations, and attempt to provide necessary services for all. Like I said, each person’s definition of “necessary” is determined by their circumstances.
So when the library determined they would close the Fallston branch – all those affected citizens rose up and said “HEY, THAT’S NOT FAIR!”
When the Tollgate Drop Site was closed, all the people who use it said “HEY, I USE THAT!”
It’s truly a “push me – pull you” universe with county government. Any position you cut, any program you curtail will affect a group of citizens adversely.
Contrary to what some think, there are no easy answers in managing what literally is a very delicate balancing act.
It is really quite similar to “not in my backyard syndrome”…where something looks like a good idea, until you find out it might actually have an impact on YOU. Then suddenly, it seems like a very bad idea.
Folks, you can’t have it both ways. If you truly want cuts, you have to be prepared to absorb the consequences of less service. Even if that reduced service is one you happen to enjoy very much.
Very well said
The Other County Employee,
First of all – thank you for that detailed information on the County Employee Compensation Methodolgy. That is very helpful and actually the plan in place now, salary ranges for each job, sounds very reasonable as a practice.
However, as an example, please go look at the Sheriff’s Budget. Please look at the number of management and supervision positions. The County has too many chiefs (as far as compensation) and not enough workers. There is too much fat at the top. This is just one example – there are many more.
Other County Employee: Thank you for your post. You explained the process well. My comment to that is: I wonder how many tax dollars went towards paying for these payroll studies? A considerable amount no doubt. Braveheart: I have used the Sheriff’s Department as an example in many of my postings. All the specialized divisions are pulling officers from the streets and putting them into these groups, and each of these groups, of course, needs a layer of supervision starting with the DFC’s and on up. The juvenile division has one captain and one deputy! That is a perfect, but not the only example of the near 1:1 worker to supervisor ratio. When Bane has to cut his budget next year, does anyone really think that the boys at the top are going to be affected? Of course not. The fat get fatter.
The Other County Employee says
Braveheart and Blue,
I’m just trying to lay it out there for you guys, and would be happy to answer any and all questions you might have that is within my ability.
I’ll also say this, there are a “trinity” of public workers that your tax dollars support. The school system. The Sheriff’s Office. County Government.
Difficult as it may be in these trying economic times, let me try and give you the perspective of the county government employee – we often feel like the “red-headed stepchild”.
When the school system wants more money (eg, pay increases), the line becomes “Don’t you care about your children’s education?”.
When the Sheriff’s Office wants more money, it is “don’t you care about the safety of your community?”.
Look, we all want our kids to get an education, and we all want to feel safe in our homes. We all want to earn a higher salary too. What I resent is the implication that if we don’t pony up bigger salaries, the teachers won’t teach as hard or the deputies won’t be as vigilant. To me it is called “doing the job you were hired for”.
Unfortunately, large segments of the population seem to buy into it. When budget hearings come around, long lines of school supporters stand up in support of more money for the teachers. Deputies show up in uniform and talk about needing more money to survive on the streets.
What doesn’t happen is people standing up and saying we need our roads plowed. We want nice parks for our kids to play in, we want clean water in our pipelines…you get my drift. The reason is because these things do happen, and will continue to happen.
The capital budget and the operating budget are both out there in the public domain…every page of it. If there are specific programs that you feel should be curtailed, then I urge you to speak up about it in the future. Just be prepared for an equally persistent voice to say, “Hey, leave that alone – I NEED that!”
The Other County Employee says
I got off on a tangent there, sorry. As to what has been said about about the extensive hierarchy in the Sheriff’s Office and the school system – you know what, I’m in complete agreement.
Unfortunately, the administration has no say at all as to how they choose to spend their funds. I’d like to see more deputies and fewer supervisors; more teachers and fewer “4th vice principals” too.
We don’t have that kind of hierarchy in county government. Each department has a director. Medium-sized departments might have a deputy director. Really large departments might have 2 or 3. That’s it. The rest of us are regular working folks.
Here is another random thought as to the salaries department heads earn. They all work at the “discretion of the county executive”. That means they work with zero protection. When an administration changes, the first order of business is for each department head to submit a letter of resignation.
That’s not a ton of long term job security for people who, for the most part, are highly skilled professionals. If you want to attract the best candidates for those positions, you have to give them more money to compensate for a career move that will last 4 or 8 years.
Are there political appointments? Yes, absolutely. But keep in mind, that’s how it always happens, and should happen. When an executive gets elected, he/she has a plan for the county – for what they want to achieve in office. By necessity, the exec needs surround themself with those who are of a like mind. It would make no sense to put unqualified individuals into those jobs.
I’ll be honest. In every administration there are department heads I do not particularly care for. But those are personality issues for the most part. I can truly state that there are no department heads in this administration that fail to put in the long hours and earn their salary – inflated though it may be.
Another thing to point out, particularly since Braveheart likes to let us know the county budget increased 45% from 2005-2009, is that many of the jobs are in buildings which have electricity. I pulled my electric bill from Novemeber 30, 2005 and compared it to my electric bill from December 1, 2008. I found the following in 2005 I paid 6.75 cents per kWh (including distribution, taxes and surcharges) in 2008 I paid 14.98 cents per kWh. That would be 228% increase in electricity costs. I wonder if that was a significant part of the increase in the budget in that time frame. Maybe the cost of lighting, heating, airconditioning and vacuming all those buildings the county has actually went up 228% so more was spent on that. Could that be part of the reason the budget increased? The cost of doing buisness has gone up. I am not saying there is not some things that can go but as T.O.C.E. says these cuts are going to be services and services you may use. Thinnk of that when they do not preemptively salt the roads this winter and it is Icey sooner or your road gets plowed later. Or your dog tag comes a few weeks later or your water main gets fixed later or you have to take off work to go to the permit office cause they cut back on hours.
The cost of electricity and other utilities is one of the reasons I pretty much ignore comments like “from 2005 to 2008 the county budget increased by 45%.” Yes, part of that is an increase in services offered, maybe some extra supervisor positions, etc, however I suspect a large portion of that increase was for things like higher utility rates. That stretch of time Braveheart loves to trumpet just happens to coincide with one of (if not the largest) increases in the cost of utilities over a 4 year period ever.
As far as the Sheriff’s Office saying they need higher salaries, that was true. Prior to the major pay scale restructuring that happened a few years ago, we were losing good officers to other agencies (notably Transportation Authority and Baltimore County.) Now that trend has reversed and just about the only people leaving the Sheriff’s Office for other agencies are one’s who have no choice (and honestly I can’t think of any have gone to another agency because they wanted to work elsewhere.) Every time we open up hiring for transfers from other agencies we get significantly more application than positions available. That means instead of taking another agency’s castoffs and problem officer we’re able to pick and choose who we want to take and as a result the last few rounds of lateral hires have been full of highly qualified and experienced officers.
As for the specialty units, each one serves a purpose and helps take pressure off of patrol deputies. If you want to see just how busy patrol can get, I encourage you to do a ride along with a deputy in Edgewood on a Friday or Saturday evening in summer. I can’t comment on how or why they’re set up the way there are. Those decisions are made several pay grades above mine…
The Other County Employee says
I’ve got no beef at all with the men and women of the sheriff’s office. I know plenty of them, and believe me they deserve every dollar they get. It is a tough and largely thankless job. Not to mention the folks who work out at the detention center, which is no picnic, believe me.
That said, at least on appearance, it does seem that the Sheriff and the school system are set up in a manner so that positions were created to reward some with higher salaries as lower tier or newly created administrative slots.
I’m all for giving a salary boost to a qualified teacher who does a good job. But you know what? How about create a pay scale that can give them that extra money to actually TEACH. Not sit behind a desk pushing around papers and patrolling the hallways looking for kids cutting class.
I am not sure how all of the other residents in the private sector have fared the past few years, but where I work there have been no raises and no COLA for 2 years and the preceding 2 years there were only 2 to 4% increases. The January our salaries were cut 5% and other bene’s were cut to total an 8% loss. In the “good times” annual increases averaged 6 to 8% (this includes promotions).
With that being said. Jobs in the public sector are funded with a budget based as a percentage of resident income and fees from other taxes(also derived primarily from resident income). So as the resident income falls or increases at a slower rate so too should the budget for the public sector. Increasing taxes on residents during lean times is a sure way to capsize people already in financial duress. The phrase share the pain comes to mind.
vietnam vet says
Dw Got too watch you are stereotyping. to think there is a large criminal element liveing in none the less subsidized houseing in Edgewood. no less a breeding ground for crime.
It’s our tax payer’s money that supports these BUM’S !
Anybody who thinks that a $200 million increase (45%) from 2005 to 2009 in the Harford County Operating Budget should be ignored because energy prices spiked really shows ignorance and probably works in the Government sector. Under your logic, now that enegy prices have receded – the budget should recede as well… Go figure…
As far as the Sheriff’s Department Goes – you may a valid point on starting salaries. However, the benefits – especially retirement system (all law enforcement) needs a serious correction. Retirees shouldn’t be able to collect benefits until age 55 and then a reduced rate just like most other defined benefit pensions.
As far as Harford County’s Department – too many chiefs and not enough deputies. Way too inefficient….Facts are the facts.
Once again check your calculations – your electric rate increased 122% not 228%.
correct still substantial and my electric rate has not decreased it has gone up since then!
I didn’t mean or say (and if it came across that way, I apologize) that the entire budget increase was due to higher utility costs, but a significant portion of that increase was caused by the higher utility rates. And the fact is you keep stating a $200 million increase (or 45% since you mention both in virtually every comment you make) like it’s caused purely by government fat (which exists in every government agency and probably every private sector business) and has nothing to do significantly higher costs for simply turning on the lights.
As far the Sheriff’s Office pension plan, it’s actually not even close to what other similar sized agencies in the area get. Whether or not there needs to be a correction is another matter, but if you want to attract quality employees then you need to have competitive pay and benefit plans (including retirement.) You pay for what you get and if what you want are castoffs from other agencies and people joining the Sheriff’s Office to get a foot in the door, training, and experience so they can leave for a better deal doing the same work elsewhere after a couple years then cut away at the pay rates, benefits, and retirement plans.
Since you know so much about the Sheriff’s Office can you tell me how many supervisors verses employees (chiefs vs. indians) there are? I’m curious to know what the ratio is so that I can relate that to the “span of control”. Also how many calls do they handle a shift, day, year? Where would you make cuts? What “top level” positions has Bane created that were not already in place when he took over? Also, can you list some law enforcement agencies that don’t collect a retirement after completion of their years of service in the state of Maryland that is assuming that you do know that the Sheriff’s Office is in a state retirement plan (LEOPS Law Enforcement Officers Pension System) which includes almost every law enforcement agency in the state. They did that a couple of years ago, and by doing so supplied a huge relief to the county in the way of funds, bond ratings, etc.
Al J Thong says
Don’t let DW sell you any wolf tickets. I sat on the Harford County budget review committee for several years and the Sheriff’s budget was treated like a CIA black op’s budget. Every other department head had to go before the council and justify their budgets except the Sheriff. The Sheriff’s Department budget is usually only reviewed by the County Exec and then viewed by the County Council.
And although I can’t speak to the Chiefs to Indians ratio I will tell you this; all officers making over $100k are listed by name in the budget and most of them are not salaried.
I say we budget them on an out come basis inversely proportionate to their golf scores. It might hurt the local golf courses some but could be the real beginning to public safety in Edgewood and the route 40 corridor.
“Since you know so much about the Sheriff’s Office can you tell me how many supervisors verses employees (chiefs vs. indians) there are?”
Eric & anybody else that wants to see it – Go look it up – public information included in the Harford County Budget. In addition and what the “budget doesn’t tell ya” is how under-utilized the management/supervision positions are. Many of the individuals hold rank and salary without corresponding responsibility. Frankly, it is a waste of dollars that could be shifted to more deputies or in some cases position elimination.
“What “top level” positions has Bane created that were not already in place when he took over?”
If Bane inhereted a bad situation – why hasn’t he corrected it? I’ll tell ya why, because Jesse Bane, I suspect is a pacifist, he goes along to get along. Just like his crime policies – displacing crime instead of eliminating it.
“Also, can you list some law enforcement agencies that don’t collect a retirement after completion of their years of service in the state of Maryland that is assuming that you do know that the Sheriff’s Office is in a state retirement plan (LEOPS Law Enforcement Officers Pension System) which includes almost every law enforcement agency in the state. They did that a couple of years ago, and by doing so supplied a huge relief to the county in the way of funds, bond ratings, etc.”
The entire law enforcement retirement and disability system throughout the state needs to be reformed – period!
vietnam vet says
AL all I can say is OUCH !
Braveheart you did a great job of not actually answering any of the questions asked!
Any deputy making over $100k and not command staff does so because they work a ridiculous amount of OT and much of that consists of working security details at various locations which are reimbursed by whoever owns those locations (like the Village at Lakeview, Harford Community College, Perrywood Gardens, Harford Mobile Village, etc.) While the OT pay for those details does get paid on their regular paychecks, the management of those locations pay the Sheriff’s Office to have deputies work there. A deputy with 30 years experience doesn’t make anywhere near $100k without working a lot of OT. The rest of the OT available mostly consists of court time (which has been dramatically reduced because of the court liaison officer position created created last fall), shift shortfall, and special details targeting specific problems like street robberies, car thefts, commercial burglaries, DUI saturation patrol (which is grant funded and doesn’t come out the Sheriff’s Office budget), etc.
Braveheart, nice job of ignoring every question Eric asked you. My guess is you really don’t have any idea.
The Bloated County Budget should answer all of your questions. The Budget is public information. Why don’t you give Eric a lesson on looking things up.
The trends and facts of the Budget increases both during and before Craigs and Bane’s tenure speak for themselves.
DW, clearly you and Eric are Government workers trying to protect your wages.
However, I’m confident of two things;
Taxpayers have finally drawn a line in the sand and are finally taking notice of Government run wild in the name of “education, safety, emergengy services, and everything else nice to have”
And two; Taxpayers simply can’t afford to play Government’s insidious game of Government Creep any longer.
Taxpayers see the $200 Million increase (it is REAL) – they wil not be fooled by your distractions and rhetoric.
The dramatic cost of doing buisness, energy rates and inflation are also real as well.
DW: Are you Bane’s campaign manager or something? Your bias is obvious. You may have inside knowledge as to how the OT works, but you cannot deny the fact that Bane has created many many supervisory positions since he’s been at the helm. He promoted 5 new captains within the first 3 months–2 were vacancies and the other 3 positions were newly created. As I have stated many times before, when you create a position at the top and promote from within, there are actually 4 people getting promoted–DFC to Corporal, Corporal to Sergeant, Sergeant to Lieutenant and Lieutenant to Captain. So look at how many deputies were promoted just with those new captains being appointed. You have also failed to state that when there was just one headquarters building, you had shift commanders for the 3 shifts. When the Southern Precinct opened, for some unknown reason you had to have 3 sets of commanders for all three shifts and then when the Northern Precinct opened, you also had 3 new sets of commanders there for each shift. So you can see where things have run rampant. The number of deputies was the same–you just added two new buildings with 18 new supervisors. Somehow the department ran fine without all these promotions. Braveheart mentions the ratio of chiefs to indians in his postings. You can clearly see how wildly disproportionate the ratio is. You have also failed to mention shift differential where officers working anything other than dayshift get a percentage (not sure of the %) on top of their salaries. You also fail to mention their take home cars which sit idle 66.66% of the time. Should I continue?
Phil Dirt says
To get the true picture, any discussion of the salary of an employee who gets a take home car should include the cost of said car to those who pay the bills (un, that’s us). And is the use of the car a taxable benefit? If not, it should be.
county employee says
Grandstanding won’t win you any points with me either. Speak your mind, but at least show the respect that I show my clients (your fellow citizens) everyday. The free loaders are just those that expect the same services and assistance even if our personel resources are cut. I know that people pay taxes and seek some relief due to the lower property vaules, and I agree with it, but for the taxt payer to expect the same service, with less resources is silly.
As I stand here right now, I just responded to a couple of emails from my clients. I have taken a few well deserved days off, since my brother is in town and this is my first bonafide vacation in 4 years.
I respond to clients concerns by email at home, on holidays, weekends and vacations. I work hard for my money and I am mindfull that I represent the county you live in to everyone out there. I talk to clients that stop me during my time off, and I am glad to be of service to them. That could be you one day…….hopefully not. I don’t get a bonus at the end of the year, nor do I receive comp time for work that I do during my personal time. All I ask from the average citizen is to at least research the facts before spouting off about govt and govt workers.
My job means a lot to me. The work I do is worthwhile to the county and its citizens I can asure you of that. As I see it, “you need me on that wall, and you want me on that wall”, while what I do is of no consequence to you, the people I serve are of consequence to me, to borrow from one of my favorite Jack Nicholson movies, A FEW GOOD MEN.
Good Night Mandy!!! Thank you for taking up the slack while I spend a few days away.
I have to agree with #28 as you never answer any of the questions asked. You really should consider a career in politics.
Phil Dirt says
county employee, I feel no need to win any points with you. I just want to know the whole story, not self-serving, filtered versions.
One can only assume that you are lazy or unintelligent since the facts are in front of you. What branch of Government are you in?
The article here is about cutting the Tollgate yard waste drop off location, yet the conversation has deteriorated to a slap down match.
Facts are facts – the economy is down, houses are being foreclosed on, people in all sectors are loosing jobs, and the fear of job loss is on everyone right now. There are salary cuts, furloughs, loss of overtime opportunities everywhere. There are areas where the budget can be trimmed and it should be, because the people cannot support the current budget in the current economic climate.
The drop off location at tollgate is a nice perk, but not a necessity. It’s not for each county resident to carry the cost of keeping everyone’s yards tidy, and besides, the county creates mulch and compost and resells it to the public anyway. It’s not a huge income stream, but it is one, and likely pays for the cost of the primary drop off site in Scarboro.
I’m not a Harford County native, I’m from AA County originally and moved here 12 years ago. There are no special drop off sites for yard waste in AA county, and the County Paid trash pickup does yard waste once a year, in the fall, after all the leaves are down. Otherwise, no yard waste bags are taken with the regular trash.
Folks, go out and pick up a $40 leaf blower that also vacuums and mulches the leaves, and then put the leaves down in your flower beds or gardens. It’s great for the gardens and reduces the need for yard waste drop off. If you have big jobs, do what other folks do and rent a mulcher for a day and make your own mulch from the debris. You’ll probably spend as much to rent the mulcher as you would have to purchase prepared mulch in bags anyway. Plus, if a couple of neighbors rent one together the cost is almost nothing.
The fat times are over folks, we have to tighten our belts and work together. All of this bashing each other accomplishes nothing.
Did I read that right? Do you really have no idea why when the Southern Precinct was opened they needed 3 new sets of shift supervisors (Lt’s, Sgt’s, and Cpl’s) and a Capt for it? Are you serious? Look at that as similar to a business opening a new store. You have your general manager who oversees everything (the Captain), department managers (Lt’s), assistant dept. managers (Sgt’s), and then shift supervisors (Cpl’s.)
I challenge you to find one police agency in the country that’s large enough to warrant multiple precincts that doesn’t have a complete set of shift supervisors for each shift out of each precinct along with a precinct commander.
That argument doesn’t even make sense. Are you saying that entire Sheriff’s Office should work solely out of 45 S. Main St? Sure, at one point they were able to do that, but that’s just not practical any longer which is why there are now two precincts and a jail. No patrol officers work out of 45 S. Main St. any longer. That’s pretty much just an administrative building now.
Whether or not the captain’s positions created under Bane were really necessary or or if those positions could’ve been filled by Lt’s instead, I really don’t know. I am aware that if 3 new captain positions are created then 12 extra people end up getting promoted who wouldn’t otherwise have been, but thank you for pointing that out to me.
Are you also suggesting that there shouldn’t be a shift differential for working a shift other than day shift? Do you have any idea what a toll working a permanent evening or midnight shift takes on you physically and mentally plus what effect it has on your family life? I think most business pay some sort of shift differential for working an evening or midnight shift. I know virtually every company I’ve worked for paid a shift differential.
In any case, I’m a bit puzzled how an article about a yard waste drop off site turned into a debate about the Sheriff’s Office budget.
Al J Thong says
This thread remains unravelled because of rethorical answers like yours. But since you asked why we may not need a Southern precint I would like to make an observation. The Southern Precint that was openned and staffed in Edgewood is situated in the absolute epicenter of the criminal activity for that area. Statistically however its presence has made no impact on the crime in that area, in fact it is on the rise. Instead of pissing our money away with a ceremonial presence like sticking a multi million dollar flag in the ground why not empty out 45 south main street and have some of those chiefs come walk the streets of Edgewood and other police neglected areas below I95 in what some officers call the rust belt.
Thong: Thanks for helping me out on that one. DW, you are a Harford County deputy and you and have your inside information as to how things are run. There is no need to ridicule an ordinary citizen who questions why and how things are done. Your analogy of comparing a grocery store chain to a police department makes no sense. You have a separate manager of a new grocery store because you are expanding. There is more stock and more employees whether it is under one roof or three roofs. However, if you are simply opening 2 sub-stores and redistributing the personnel and stock, there is no reason the stores can’t be run efficiently with the personnel on hand, with a lone supervisor for each shift, not 2 managers, 2 assistant managers, 2 meat managers, 2 vegetable managers, 2 dairy managers, etc, which is exactly what the sheriff’s department is doing by having 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals on each of 3 shifts for 2 precincts. The Sheriff’s Department, by opening the precincts, didn’t get more officers and criminal activity didn’t increase threefold just because there were now three offices. The officers were just redistributed. I see no reason for there to be three completely separate groups of supervision just because there are 3 separate buildings. And yes, I’m saying that it is perfectly viable for all the deputies to work out of one headquarters building. If the officers are out on the road the way they should be, then the building shouldn’t be too small. While on the topic of precincts, why was an out of date, too small building turned into a southern precinct where the majority of the crime is, while a huge, state of the art northern precinct sits idle in the northern end of the county, waiting for calls to come in about cow tipping? I mentioned shift differentials as another perk that the deputies get. Not offering an opinion as to whether it is right or wrong, just stating facts. Why do you not have a rebuttal for the use of take home departmental vehicles? Seems like having all this supervision certainly doesn’t lend itself to making wise decisions.
Sorry for my contribution for taking this so far off the original topic and turning it into a pissing match…which is all it is at this point.
Yes, I’m a deputy…I figured that was pretty obvious (especially when I talked about being in pursuits when some poster thought the Sheriff’s Office needed an aviation unit…) In any case most of your complaints are about decisions made at the top of the food chain and I’m far from that level. I’ve actually probably said way more than I ever should’ve in here and it’s clear your opinion (or that of several other people) isn’t going to change regardless of what I say.
I do agree that there is waste in every gov’t agency (including the Sheriff’s Office), but I think some of things you’re harping on are off base (though I do agree about the Southern Precinct being too small, old, and outdated, and I think anyone who has ever worked out of there would agree as well….) At this point there’s not really anything else to be said and I’m leaving it at that.
county employee says
You can call it self serving all you want, but the facts are that real people are being serviced well by Harford County employees. Maybe the county can be better run, no doubt about that, but most people I know are dedicated to their job.
The system is full of political favors, and back room deals. But
I worked most of my life in private business, not govt. I don’t think i have ever worked harder or done a job that has been as satisfying to me as the one I have now.
If you want the whole story, the Freedom of Imformation Act gives you the right to check data and review administrative plans, as well employee performance as it pertains to their duties. Why don’t you just request the information and make an educated opinion on the facts, instead on your predispossed views of how things are.
I don’t need self serving stories, my clients give me feedback often, and they sometimes send a letter of thanks to me, my boss, or the county executive, but I guess is only news if its bad news to you.
To compare the Sheriff dept to the local supermarket is just silly. Staffing at the police dept takes into consideration peak crime hours, emergencies, and the fact that you can’t plan demand as readily as you can determine what goods are sold on a given day and the local box store.
In addition, the state mandates how staffing should be handled per station. The local police dept or Sheriff is a state agency, while funded by the county, it has state powers of enforcement, and as such the state determines staffing types and supervisory structure per station. I am sure the local officials have some say into some of these things, but many costs are fixed and not optional.
Phil Dirt says
county employee, it is amazing how you can write almost 200 words and not reference the one simple point I made. You’d never make it in private industry.
furlougth employee says
I didn’t work today, not because there wasn’t enough to do today, only because due to the current crisis the county can’t pay me today. I guess that having a job still beats not getting paid today.
On Monday, I’ll have to deal with angry constituents that called Friday to inquire, complain, ask for, demand my services. They’ll just have to wait to have their needs attended. I’ll be patient and explain that due to budget cuts, and lack of personnel, they can schedule an appointment for two weeks from now. They’ll say that their situtation is special, (as if everyone else’s isn’t) and demand to be seen ahead of the schedule or they will call their council person, or county executive….I once had a persn call and say that she was a democrat and she would call David Craig (who is a Republican) to complain, she must have thought that he was a Democrat.
All in all, I had a good day, my mortgage is paid, and there is food at home. Others are having a hard time, and I am a witness to it every work day, except today.
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