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Letters to the Editor 3/4 Part 3

March 02, 2001

Letters to the Editor 3/4 Part 3



Dietary Officers play key role in state's correctional system



To the editor:

This is in response to the article in the Dec. 2, 2000 Herald Mail by Marlo Barnhart and Dan Kulin "Guard Faces Heroin Charge" and more so to the article submitted by Lt. Roland Silver MCTC.

I agree with Silver's statement that referring to "guards" is wrong; they are now Correctional Officers and Correctional Dietary Officers. But I don't agree that there's a big difference between Officer and Dietary Officer. Silver further states that Correctional Officers go through many weeks of training, but so do Correctional Dietary Officers as they also work by the rules and regulations set forth by the State of Maryland and the Division of Corrections. In fact, all correctional employees must complete the Correctional Training Academy after they are hired and before being permanent state employees.

Correctional Officers and Correctional Dietary Officers are both disciplined by administrative guidelines and both classifications are considered "sensitive positions."

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The Correctional Officer will work a tier or housing unit with 40 to 80 inmates where all inmates may be locked in. But the Correctional Dietary Officer will supervise 120 to 150 inmate workers in the kitchen, preparing three meals per day for hundreds of inmates using different equipment, knives and other sharp utensils which can be used as a weapon on staff or other inmates, something that has occurred at times.

I recall not too long ago a Correctional Officer and Past President of MCEA from MCTC was charged with a drug violation, was discharged from state service and received jail time. But I did not see any article at that time from by anyone judging him.

It takes all staff (management, education, medical, security, food service and all other departments) to work in corrections and to perform as a team to provide service to the inmate population and protect the citizens as required by the state and federal laws.

I take my hat off to these people who work each and every day in correctional service as I did for 20 years, but I take offense with articles that are written saying that one group is bigger or better than the other. I wish people would refrain from writing this type of article in the future.

D.W. Ashburn

Correctional Dietary Manager

Retired - Division of Corrections.




'Mail Call' needs verification as do historic district rules



To the editor:

I should preface this by saying that I understand that Mail Call is an open forum and the views published in this section are those of the anonymous callers and not the editorial staff. Some of the comments printed in Mail Call clearly indicate that readers would benefit from factual information.

Inaccuracies and misstatements often go uncorrected, giving the erroneous information validity. A call to Mail Call addressing the error can't undo damage done by rumors created in that forum.

Mail Calls can provide the staff with subject matter as they are a litmus test for knowledge in our community

During the past several weeks, there were numerous calls concerning the proposed Wal-Mart, Funkstown and the newly created Historic District in that town. I am writing this letter to provide basic information. Citizens should make their own decisions- based on facts.

1. Funkstown is only one of many communities throughout the country and the world fighting "big box stores."

Data is available at your local library or on the internet. The long term impacts of this "everything store" trend are well documented.

An informed decision can only be made after a careful consideration of the benefits and consequences.

2. Despite city, county and town boundaries, the development of border properties does impact contiguous and neighboring areas. These effects often include changes in property values, amenities, local services, taxes, politics and etc.

3. The Historic District Designation (HDD) of a community makes tax credits available to homeowners and business property owners.

These credits benefit property owners who invest in the restoration or rehabilitation of contributing buildings in the historic district. Eligible projects can include upgrades and repairs and adaptive reuse.

If a property owner does choose to take advantage of tax credits, the guidelines are specific and projects may include heating systems, air conditioning, roof repairs, repointing and many other projects.

A property owner may choose not to apply for credits. In that case that property is subject only to the town's own regulations.

The historic district designation does not require property owners to conform to architectural guidelines. The town may choose to further define regulations and zoning issues in that historic district, and has that power with or without the HDD.

Most municipalities have created regulations concerning sidewalks, snow removal, livestock, building setbacks, parking etc. to protect the citizens and their real property.

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