Friday, August 10, 2007

The Mayor Is Angry!

Mayor Moyer has written a letter to the editor, either by hand-writing a letter and mailing it across the Atlantic or by faxing it to her Annapolis office and having the public information officer send it (which is how she writes her blog.)

The Mayor is, apparently, fired up about 2 things: The Capital's coverage of her proposed salary increases and Dick Israel's contradiction of her on this issue.

Basically, Mr. Israel headed a commission to study aldermen and mayor salaries before he became an alderman. The mayor frequently refers to the findings of this commission in defense of her submitting the bill.

So says she:

Regarding The Capital's so-called salary increases for the City Council:

The mayor is actually correct here: the proposed bill would actually lower the mayor's salary by $5000 and the aldermen salaries by $600 for FY 2007. The problems are:

1. the aldermen would get a $1500 expense account "solely for training", that (i'm pretty sure) they don't have now. this in and of itself is not a terribly huge deal, but it is against city code as well as unconstitutional in the state of maryland to raise compensation of current officials--i.e. for FY 2007...........

Every four years a commission reviews compensation issues for the aldermen and the mayor.

...and 2. her proposed bill would eliminate this commission and automatically tie pay increases to rates of inflation.

Richard Israel chaired a commission in 2004 for the the 2005 council. The commission recommended:

-Increasing the compensation of the mayor and aldermen.
-Providing education money for aldermen to attend conferences.

Additionally, the commission considered providing fringe benefits similar to those received by city employees.

I can all but guarantee that the commission did not recommend the current council making these changes for themselves. I have requested a copy of the commission report from Mr. Israel, so I can make that guarantee.

The 2004 City Council accepted these recommendations and the raises and education money was provided for in 2005-2006.

Excellent. Kudos to them for following the city code.

Attorneys, including Mr. Israel, advised that providing fringe benefits could only be implemented with a change in the City Charter's language. As the mayor charged with carrying out policies recommended by the council, I asked some months ago that appropriate language be drafted to provide for fringe benefits, which does include cost-of-living increases. That is the responsibility of the mayor.

I HATE this...she says this kind of stuff all the time: 'I am just following up on something that started earlier', 'This is what the mayor does', 'This is out of my control', 'This is what has always happened--this is nothing new'. Take your pick. Nothing that goes wrong or is controversial is ever her fault.

And, since when is it written in stone that the mayor must implement the recommendations of any given panel? Here is what I imagine to be the mayor's list of the top 5 things that are written in stone, and therefore must be followed and cannot be changed.

1. The 10 Commandments (I don't know the mayor's religious beliefs, but since the 'written in stone' reference came from this, I decided to give respect where respect is due.)
2. Dick Israel City Compensation Report
3. Cliff Notes: How to Throw a 'Michigan' Party
4. The Communist Manifesto (a little extreme, I know, but I am a little cranky as a result of the humidity)
5. Union Contract with Police
123. Annapolis City Code

The bill was introduced in December 2006 and referred to the Rules and City Government Committee, chaired by Mr. Israel, where it languished.

Ooohhh....testy! "Languished"? That was a bit unnecessary. Most committees take time to research their bills, and you and I both know that Mr. Israel is purposely deliberate because he wants to gather ALL the facts. I bet that it was in committee a reasonable amount of time.

This council has determined not to pursue these changes.

Because they do not want to challenge the Constitution of the State of Maryland.

Unbelievable. We can't observe body language or tone of voice, but it seems to me that the mayor is upset about this, in utter disregard (or ignorance) of the Maryland Constitution.

The issue will be left to the next commission, which will be appointed in 2008, to consider.

And what do you think about this? Because your bill would have ended this process. forgot that part, didn't you?

Therefore, this is no longer an issue.

Nor was it an issue before you introduced the new bill and made it an issue. Also, that's the beauty of having one of the top 150 political blogs in Ward 5--you can talk about anything you want at any time!

More importantly, if we--the taxpaying citizens--want to talk about this, then it is an issue!! Loyal readers, can you start to see where a lot of us political junkies are coming from? The mayor is too good, too well informed, and too busy to listen to our petty and mundane complaints. "Therefore, this is no longer an issue"....who are you to decide? What arrogance.

Your editorial, however, with anonymous statements fanning the issue, defied the standards you set for yourself regarding letters to the editor. This kind of journalism fosters division on the community and does not serve the public good.
ELLEN MOYER, Mayor, Annapolis

I suppose that the Mayor has the same right as anybody else to write a letter to the editor. But, I tend to think that her whining and grandstanding in this letter do not serve the public good either. I would much prefer if elected officials wrote only informational letters, for example if the newspaper omitted an important fact, etc.

The editorial that the Mayor is talking about (unless there was another editorial that I missed), along with some excellent commentary, can be found on this site by clicking here. If you are only concerned with what the editorial says, read only the bold font. If you are concerned with wit, humor, and overall excellence, read the normal type as well.

I personally could not identify any "anonymous statements fanning the issue"--I actually don't know what that means so I just looked for one of those smiley faces you can write using a cell phone text message, along with any type of fan. Both searches yielded no results.

The point of an editorial is that the editorial board gives their opinion. You know who it is; it's the editorial board at The Capital. Although they appear to have gotten the figures wrong as to the amount of the compensation changes (or maybe they were quoting an earlier version of the bill), the editorial doesn't appear to be the "kind of journalism (that) fosters division on the community and does not serve the public good."

It is my hope that this blog will serve the public good, so keep reading!