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Howard settlement remains a mystery

Commissioners Vice President Paul L. Swartz, who said last week he would reveal how much the county paid John Howard, still has

Commissioners Vice President Paul L. Swartz, who said last week he would reveal how much the county paid John Howard, still has

August 19, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County Commissioners Vice President Paul L. Swartz has not yet disclosed how much the county paid former Economic Development Commission director John Howard as part of his retirement.

Last Tuesday, Swartz said Howard received a payment based on accrued sick and vacation time and that he would try to figure out the amount and reveal it to the public by the end of the week.

He also said Howard may have received severance pay.

Swartz did not return several phone calls made Sunday.

The commissioners and county officials have refused to say how much compensation Howard, who worked for the county for five years, received when he retired.

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Howard had been on paid administrative leave since late March and retired on May 8. The county announced his retirement on June 11. His annual salary at the time of his retirement was $82,067.

The commissioners and county officials said they could not disclose the amount of Howard's retirement compensation because the county signed a confidentiality agreement with him.

County Attorney Richard Douglas has argued that the amount cannot be revealed because it was Howard's personal income, not salary, and that personal income was protected under the Maryland Public Information Act.

Howard has declined to say how much he received.

Last week, Swartz said he didn't think the amount was a secret and would try to determine what it was.

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