Cumberland Times-News

August 26, 2013

No sense to it

Cumberland Times-News

— What was the union representing corrections officers thinking when it decided to bar the  press from attending its “town hall” meeting with Gary Maynard, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services?

It’s a lame excuse to say that corrections officers will be shy about discussing problems because reporters will be in the audience. The union several days ago held a rally near NBCI to protest the way Maynard and others under his management are handling the problem of inmates attacking correctional officers. No one was shy then about blasting state officials.

Not allowing the press to attend a so-called town hall meeting is folly — especially when the general public apparently will be allowed to attend.

The best way to remedy what has been going on at NBCI is to inform the public of the problems at the facility and ask Maynard and others how they are going to stop continued assaults. By having the media cover the forum, the entire community will better understand the challenges the NBCI staff and corrections officers are facing.

The local delegation to Annapolis has expressed its displeasure on the way the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is handling Monday night’s meeting. Delegate Kevin Kelly said he and his colleagues will attend the meeting, but they have expressed disappointment that the media has been excluded.

Monday’s meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Continuing Education Building at Allegany College of Maryland.

There will be empty chairs where the press would normally sit. That’s too bad — especially because the community won’t be fully informed about how the correctional officer assaults problem is going to be fixed.