CUMBERLAND — Allegany County Commission President Michael McKay volunteered Thursday to use his clout and “make a call,” apparently to a local credit union, to intervene in a loan dispute between a federal employee and the credit union.
McKay’s statement came in response to Sommer Roy’s explanation of the plight of federal employees at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, who face loss of their pay during the federal government shutdown. Roy was speaking during the public comment period of Thursday’s Allegany County Commission meeting, when McKay made his comments.
Roy is the legislative coordinator for Local 4010 of the American Federation of Government Em-ployees. The organization represents about 300 employees at the prison.
Roy said the credit union had denied a loan to an employee at the prison because of the federal shutdown. Many employees won’t be getting a paycheck during the shutdown, but must still report to work, Roy said. Roy said she and other union members would be moving their accounts to another bank or credit union.
That’s when McKay asked her and the other federal employees to hold off on the move and “let me make a call.”
McKay did not say who he would call or what he would say.
Roy was asking the commissioners and the public for support during the shutdown and asked that citizens contact their elected representatives to demand an end to the shutdown and that federal workers be paid, including supporting legislation for retroactive pay and emergency funding for the government. Many staff members are veterans, Roy said.
“Inmates are still getting paid,” Roy said, because their accounts are handled separately and apparently not affected by the shutdown.
Roy also said the prison is understaffed and needs to be at safe staffing levels for employee and public safety.
More on the AFGE’s response to the federal shutdown can be found at:http://www.afge.org/.
On Thursday, commissioners also proclaimed the observance of Oct. 6-12 as National Fire Prevention Week, which this year has a theme of preventing kitchen fires. Thousands of people are killed and injured every year in home fires, said Susan Lee, the county’s emergency management division chief. The No. 1 place those fires start is in the kitchen, Lee said. Among other tips, Lee said that one should never have items cooking on the stove or in the oven and leave the home to do something else. Lee was joined by Clarence Broadwater, the vice president of the Allegany-Garett County Fire & Rescue Association. Broadwater emphasized the importance of smoke alarms, which can usually be obtained free through local fire departments.
On a 2-1 vote, commissioners also approved signing a grant agreement with the state for the Rural Legacy Program. The program is voluntary for residents in the Mountain Ridge Rural Legacy Area who want to grant easements preserving their rural land from development. Environmental criteria are applied to decide which properties might be eligible for grant money, said David Dorsey, the county’s acting planning coordinator.
Commissioner Creade Brodie Jr. voted against executing the agreement.
The commission meeting took place at county offices on Kelly Road.
Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at email@example.com.