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Munson files requests for pay records

October 14, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Washington County Commissioner candidate John Munson filed two more Maryland Public Information Act requests Friday with the county, seeking information about county employees' salaries and contracts.

Thursday morning, Munson filed a Maryland Public Information Act request asking that the amount of money former Economic Development Commission Director John Howard was paid when he retired be made public.

Within six hours County Attorney Richard Douglas said he was going to deny the request.

Munson's request - along with two similar requests by The Herald-Mail Co. - was rejected because to do otherwise would violate state law protecting employees' privacy, Douglas said.

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Douglas said Friday that he will grant at least one of the requests filed by Munson on Friday - to publicly release the salaries of the approximately 700 county employees, Douglas said.

Munson's other request asks the county to release how many county employees have contracts and who they are and requests copies of those contracts.

Douglas said he will not act on that request until at least next week. The law allows him 10 working days to respond to such requests in writing, he said.

Generally, Washington County does not have contracts with its employees, but there are exceptions, Douglas said. He would not say on Friday how many employees have contracts or who they are.

He would not say if Howard had an employee contract.

Munson said he does not believe any county employees should have a contract. If someone does not want to work without a contract they should not work for Washington County government, Munson said.

Howard went on paid administrative leave in late March and left his job May 8. The county announced his retirement June 11. Howard's annual salary was $82,067.

Munson said he did not file the request until this week because he was waiting to see if the county would release the information, as he thinks it should.

Munson said his requests are unrelated to the Nov. 5 election.

"It has gotten me burnt up. There is too much secrecy in county government," he said.

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