One bill caused some discussion on Tuesday.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County’s 2021 Legislative Package will be formally presented to the Legislative Delegation on Wednesday, November 18th. The “wish list” was adopted on Tuesday by the County Council.
One bill that generated some discussion would let county government provide a salary range when public information requests are received asking about some employees’ pay. It’s in reaction to requests from data mining companies which sell this information to others. County Executive Jan Gardner, who introduced this bill, says it could lead to employees being victims of identity theft.
Councilman Phil Dacey is opposed to this bill. He says citizens who pay taxes have a right to know how much county employees are paid. “Personal information is your name, your address, your height and weight. That kind of stuff is personal information. Your birth date. Personal information absolutely does not include how the taxpayers are paying you. That’s public information and you’re trying to hide that information from the public,” he said.
“With all due respect, I really take issue that you are characterizing as trying to hide information from the public,” Joy Shaefer, Director of Government Affairs, replied. “We’ re really trying to protect public employees.”
She said the bill would allow the county to provide a salary range for employees, and not an exact salary. It would apply to employees in merit based jobs such as the highway crew, landfill employees, or an administrative position. Under this bill, citizens could request information on the salaries paid to the County Executive, Division Directors and employees hired by the County Council and the Executive.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Council pulled that bill from the list of legislation and position statements, and voted on it separately, with Councilman Dacey voting “no.” They also pulled a position statement supporting education funding, policy reforms, and additional accountability under the Blueprint For Maryland’s Future, also known as the Kirwan Commission report. That also voted on separately with Dacey in opposition.
The local Legislative Delegation is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the Package on Saturday, December 5th beginning at 10:00 AM.
By Kevin McManus