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Wantz snaps at Bouchat for pay raise and endorsement insinuation
"Below the belt" vs. righting a wrong
During Thursday’s Commissioner meeting, sitting Commissioners Stephen Wantz and Eric Bouchat, both District 5 State Delegate hopefuls, locked horns in what started as an insinuation by Bouchat, but quickly boiled over, culminating with Wantz accusing Bouchat of tactics he felt were “below the belt”.
At issue was Bouchat’s criticism over the level of scrutiny his counterparts, Wantz in particular, were engaging in over a recommended 10% baseline pay increase for county employees.
Wantz indeed appeared unenthusiastic about the raise, which was recommended by the procured human resources and benefits consulting company Segal, saying how, though he hopes is is wrong, “just throwing money at prospective employees” is “not the answer”, or at least not the “entire answer”.
Wantz felt the county’s difficulty with employee recruitment and retention had more to do with the “quality of the workplace” overall, and emphasized the importance of career progression paths so county employees understand they have a ladder to climb.
He did eventually confirm he approves of the recommended raise, which was already accounted for in the greenlit county budget, but nonetheless continued to stress the need to look at the “total package”.
Commissioner Richard Weaver briefly rebutted Wantz, accurately pointing out that, with inflation levels at or exceeding 9% — a 10% raise is more in keeping with the tide than it is a tangible increase in purchasing power.
Shortly after, Bouchat jumped in, pointing out how he “didn’t remember this much scrutiny being placed into the 22% raise for the sheriff’s department, during an election year, where people are courting FOP endorsements”, something he found “quite funny”.
He continued, explaining how he thought the 10% raise would be a “wonderful thing” that would “satisfy our county employees who actually felt kind of dissed over the fact that, without any hesitation, this board gave a 22% raise to the deputy sheriffs”.
He concluded, stating that “it’s not that they (the sheriff’s department) don’t deserve it, but it was kind of a slap in the face to the county employees”, and that this 10% raise would be a “rectification of that wrong”.
Wantz, who was granted an endorsement from Carroll’s Fraternal Order of Police for his Delegate candidacy, immediately became defensive, accusing Bouchat of “bringing politics into this” which he felt was “below the belt”, something he expects from Bouchat, before finishing his harangue by sarcastically thanking Bouchat for his “rudeness”.
The entire meeting is available at the Youtube video below. The exchange documented here starts at the 1:20:25 mark and concludes around 1:22:15.
Maryland Muckraker is a completely independent and fearlessly conservative blog covering local issues by me, Ethan Reese. After spending nearly a decade in corporate Baltimore in marketing technology, figured I’d have a go at writing. Since then I’ve contributed articles to FOX’s OutKick, PJ Media, and Rare Politics, as well as being named a Writing Fellow with the America’s Future Foundation.
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