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Pension Offer Draws Ire

[Post staff writer Eric Rich contributed this item from his story in today's paper]

Just days after he was sworn into office, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) named Marcus Brown, a deputy police commissioner in Baltimore, to serve in one of Maryland's most senior law enforcement positions.

In recent days, the arrangement under which Brown left city service to follow his political patron, becoming the police chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority, has drawn intense scrutiny. At issue is a pension Brown received despite having worked for the city for fewer than the customary 20 years.

At age 42, with less than 15 years in Baltimore and credit for three in San Jose, Brown was awarded an annual pension from the city of more than $55,000. He took advantage of a relatively obscure provision in the city code -- the meaning of which has been much debated -- that allows an employee with between 15 and 20 years of service to collect a pension if he is "removed . . . without fault upon his part."

In a letter dated Jan. 29, three days after Brown's appointment to head the agency was announced, Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm told Brown he had notified the retirement system "of your layoff." The action, Hamm wrote, "makes you eligible for retirement benefits."

Steve Fugate, chairman of the police and fire pension board, said in an interview that it is "clearly not the case" that Brown was laid off. A spokesman for Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) confirmed yesterday that Brown, who was appointed to the city job when O'Malley was mayor, had been invited to stay in the city post in her administration.

Brown was not available to comment yesterday, his spokesman said.

On behalf of Hamm, police spokesman Matt Jablow said: "He was advised and believed and continues to believe that the matter was handled in a completely aboveboard way and is consistent with prior practices of other commissioners here in Baltimore."

O'Malley would not comment on the propriety of the arrangement but said he was not involved in the decision to award it. "I think it was something between [Brown] and the police commissioner," he said.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  June 26, 2007; 9:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

$55,000? That's almost $5K a month. Not bad for only 15 years in the job.

How many of you folks out there have such a great retirement package?

Great leadership, O'Malley. Way to side step that bomb shell by putting it back on the commissioner.

Now look two more articles above where O'Malley and the gang want to raise your income taxes and ask yourself why.

Posted by: BG from PG | June 26, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The whole thing would go away if Brown would just refuse the pension and say I did not do my 20 years, so I am not entitled to the pension. I think it says something about the integrity of a leader in LAW ENFORCEMENT.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

o'malley drafted the contract to begin with but now he has no comment and the post let's him get away with it??? oh, and nice job running this story a week after it broke. better late than never, huh? but excellent job on the duck story.

Posted by: no'malley | June 26, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Seems, Baltimore has yet another 0'Malley associated corrupt Police Commish, who should be made take a long walk on a short plank. Even my dog understands Brown was not let go, and he's not too happy about it.

Looks like O'Malley, Hamm, and Brown are trying to fudge the numbers. It's the arrogance that annoys me.

Posted by: Count Bobulescu | June 27, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

What did you expect? This is Maryland politics. Isn't Agnew still the only vice president to resign?

Posted by: MICHAEL1945 | June 28, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

is the post just going to let this go? no further investigation? the city solicitor, who relies on these political types for their jobs, is saying the police commissioner just used the wrong words. oh, ok, so if i just said that i was president of maryland, and the federal government called me on it, i could just say i used the wrong words??? this is corruption that needs to be investigated by the 4th estate. get wagner off his rear end and look into this. maybe you can also get around to investigating the shady land deal that corrupt o'malley negotiated with taxpayer money to benefit members of his transition team, and possibily his cabinet secretary john griffin helped negotiate. where is the story? resting on your laurels at the post? give up the annapolis office then.

Posted by: question for phyllis | July 1, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

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