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Win Bryan McIntire’s money, part 1

October 20, 2010 1 comment

Campaign finance reports are due out later this week and one of the big questions begging for an answer is who will get a piece of Republican Councilman Bryan McIntire’s sizable war chest.

The four-term councilman who lost the September primary to challenger Todd Huff, had $221,421 in cash on hand, according to the last report filed on Sept. 2 (so there’s a chance the actual figure is probably less).

McIntire confirmed that he has been the focus of solicitations from a number of candidates “running in this county and others and one person from another state.”

It’s something that is new to him.

“I was never at a point where I wasn’t running and had money left over,” said the councilman.

McIntire declined to say who, if anyone would get a slice of the pie. He acknowledged that the obvious recipients could include Republican County Executive candidate Ken Holt and Republican council candidates David Marks, Ryan Nawrocki, and Steve Whisler. Read more…

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Smith donates “appropriately dressed” statue

October 19, 2010 1 comment

 

Smith Olympian Park

Smith at the dedication of Olympian Park in July. (Photo courtesy of Baltimore County)

 

The County Council Monday night approved a donation of a statue from County Executive Jim Smith and his wife, Sandy, and thanks to a question from Councilman Bryan McIntire, we now know that the figures will be “appropriately dressed.”

County Recreation and Parks Director Bob Barrett told the council that the statue of of a boy and girl holding the earth is estimated to cost $5,150. Once completed, the statue will be installed at the recently dedicated Olympian Park, which will honor six Olympians and Paralympians including Michael Phelps, Anita Null and Jessica Long.

“And they’re properly dressed?” McIntire asked Barrett, who then told the council the figures would be properly attired.

In an interview following the vote, McIntire said he asked the question because the council was being asked to vote on the statue sight unseen. Read more…

GOP candidates gather in Towson to sign pension pledge

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Republican federal, state and local candidates and elected officials will be out in front of the Old Courthouse in Towson late Monday afternoon to sign a pledge that shows their support for pension reform for elected officials.

Steve Bailey, a Republican candidate for state’s attorney, said candidates will gather in Towon at 5 p.m. to sign the pledge and vow to work toward changing so-called defined benefit plans to a defined contribution plan similar to 401K style plans available to the public.

“We’re going to work toward these goals or at least the people who get elected,” said Bailey, who took up the issue of pension reform when he was co-chairman of the county chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a group that advocates smaller government.

Bailey said further pension reform on the county level “should be a reality if a majority of Republicans are elected to the council.”

Bailey said that the reforms on the county level would mean that current incumbents would not see a change in any accrued benefits under the current defined benefits plan – council members receive 20 percent of their highest salary for each term they complete. Future benefits would only be accrued if the council member elected to participate in the 401K-style plan.

“We don’t believe it would be fair or legal to make the changes retroactive,” Bailey said. “I don’t think you can do anything other than (make it prospective).”

Earlier this year the council passed a measure that limits council members to retirement benefits equal to 60 percent of their highest salary. The changes applied only to council members who begin their service on Dec. 6.

Expected speakers include Sen. Andy Harris, a candidate for Congress, and Del. Bill Frank. Both men sponsored legislation to create defined contribution plans for state legislators. Those bills were unsuccessful.

Cutting $87 million during the commercials

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Jon Herbst was the guest on Sunday night’s edition of “All Politics is Local” featuring host Jay Liner as well as a panel of journalists including myself and Al Forman of Investigativevoice.com.

Herbst, the Republican candidate for the 2nd Council District in Baltimore County, came on to talk about his campaign and stances on schools, tax rates, business regulation and pension reform. (Vicki Almond, the Democratic nominee for the same seat was also invited but she declined citing a prior commitment.)

On the subjects of pension reform and lower taxes, I asked Herbst about how he could lower taxes without cutting services and still absorb state teacher pensions that are likely to be pushed down on the county in 2011.

You can listen in while Herbst tries to  find $87 million after just one commercial break.

All Politics is Local is a live call in radio program about local politics. The show can be heard every Sunday night from 7-8p.m. on WCBM 680 AM and on WCBM.com.

NOTE: A reminder to my readers. This blog is my temporary home while I wait to join Patch.com as the assistant regional editor in Baltimore County where I will cover county government and politics. I’ll start over at Patch.com on Oct. 25.

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