Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 10, 2013

Correctional officers take staffing complaints to delegation

Groups ask for lawmakers’ support at Monday meeting

CUMBERLAND — A representative

of many local correctional officers

asked members of the District 1

legislative delegation for help with

staffing and other issues during the

delegation’s presession meeting

Monday evening.

Low staffing levels have created “a

dangerous situation,” said Jeff

Grabenstein, American Federation of

State, County and Municipal Employees

Local 898 president. AFSCME

represents correctional officers at

Western Correctional Institution and

North Branch Correctional Institution,

both in Cresaptown. The institutions

are both involved in an accreditation

process with the American

Correctional Association that puts

strains on resources.

“It means more we have to do and

we have fewer officers to do it with,”

said Grabenstein, a Cumberland resident.

Legislators offered some comfort,

saying that it looked like next year’s

budget would be adding correctional

officers to the prisons. Grabenstein

said his organization also opposes

increasing the time allowed from 90

days to one year for investigation of

correctional officers accused of

wrongdoing or breaking rules andregulations inside the prison.

An officer should not be held

dangling for a year, Grabenstein


Correctional officers everywhere

in the state should have

the same disability rights granted

to firefighters and police officers

based on heart disease

and high blood pressure,

Grabenstein said. Delegate

Kevin Kelly said it makes no

sense that correctional officers

in some counties are covered

for such illnesses, while state

correctional officers are not.

The District 1 legislative delegation

is made up of Sen.

George Edwards and Delegates

Wendell Beitzel, Kelly and

LeRoy Myers Jr.

Other groups and individuals

also asked for the legislators’

help or simply let the political

leaders hear their points of


Robert Godfrey of Friends

Aware asked for support on a

bond bill request for the organization’s

building project. The

bond bill would have to be

approved during the legislature’s

budget process. Godfrey

did not request a specific

amount. Work has already

begun on the building and renovation

plan. The plan is to

expand and renovate the

22,000-square-foot facility on

Holland Street.

Friends Aware currently

serves around 140 individuals

with developmental disabilities

who live in Allegany County.

Last year, the organization was

awarded $100,000 by the state.

Godfrey also thanked the delegation

for its past efforts.

Ed Evans of Cumberland

said he is opposed to plans to

increase the percentage of

ethanol in gasoline. “It’s killing

weed whackers and lawn mowers,”

Evans said.

Evan West of the Allegany

and Garrett County teachers

associations thanked legislators

for helping limit losses in

state aid during the 2013 legislative

session. West also said

that contractual issues would

not affect efforts to look at

school opening dates being

moved to after Labor Day. A

state commission is currently

reviewing the idea. Myers is a

member of that committee.

West also asked legislators to

support extending the Fairness

in Negotiations Act, which created

an impartial arbitration

body to examine disputes

between local school administrations

and teachers and other


Jackie Sams of Cumberland

asked delegation members to

be aware of some of the issues

on natural gas development

affecting Maryland. She particularly

mentioned the planned

Cove Point exporting facility in

Calvert County and expansion

of pipeline and compressor status.

Veterans continue to hope for

slot machine style gaming at

local veterans clubs, said Don

Nixon, the commander of the

Oldtown Veterans of Foreign

Wars Post and the District 3

representative for the state

VFW, representing Washington,

Allegany and Garrett County

VFW organizations.

Nixon is not happy with the

pull tab machines the state has

approved but still not distributed.

“They are not slots. ... They

don’t have the appeal slots

have,” said Nixon. Kelly and

Edwards said that they would

do what they could but that

there is little chance of getting a

slots bill for veterans organizations

through the General


“Until we can change the

thought process of the hierarchy,

it’s not going anywhere,”

Edwards said.

The meeting took place at the

Allegany College of Maryland

auditorium with about 30 citizens


Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at

Text Only
Local News
  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fourmile Ridge wind project approved, moves forward

    The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County and site preparation started April 7, according to Frank Maisano, a wind industry spokesman. The current notice listed on the FAA website for the project is for a small change in turbine location.

    April 17, 2014

  • Oakland back to normal after toppled tanker closes business district

    The town of Oakland returned to normal activities Thursday, one day after a tanker full of liquid propane overturned in the heart of the business district.
    Shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday the toppled tanker was removed and its 10,000-gallon load transferred to another tanker.

    April 17, 2014

  • Students back Southern Middle School renovation

    Students from both Southern and Northern middle schools presented a list of reasons why Southern Middle needs to be renovated during the Garrett County Commission meeting Tuesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Trial run Trial run

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

    Friday, April 18, has another special meaning for me besides Good Friday.
    April 18, 1942, proved to be a pivotal day for American morale, following the deadly air attack and destruction conceived and executed by Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lara Courrier seeks re-appointment to Mineral school board

    I, Lara Courrier, am seeking re-election to the Mineral County Board of Education to continue the work I’ve done the last four years. Having served as a school counselor at the Burlington Center School and the Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center for nearly six years, as well as approximately 20 years total working with children, I have insight into the needs of kids and the importance of the actions of the school board. Having three sons and several nieces and nephews in Mineral County schools, I have an added incentive to continue to work hard to ensure the efficient running of our school system. 

    April 17, 2014

Must Read
News related video