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The Dripby Mark Reutter3:18 pmOct 26, 20110

Inside City Hall: $290,000 meted out for police and helicopter cases

The Board of Estimates today agreed to pay $245,000 to a helicopter pilot who said he was punished for speaking out about waste and safety shortcomings at the Police Department’s aviation unit and $45,000 to a man who said he was attacked by police officers.

The settlement with Samuel K. Miller resolves a federal lawsuit brought by the pilot who claims he was ostracized and tricked into resigning from the police department after he wrote a letter to a superior about deficiencies in the aviation unit.

Miller said the letter got into the hands of unit commanders, who retaliated by giving him poor performance reviews. Eventually Miller was reassigned to foot patrol, with a large pay cut.

The settlement pushes the amount of money the city has spent on settling suits against the police to more than $1.2 million this year.

In a separate case, Rodney Hueston received $45,000 to settle his suit against two officers who broke his arm when they arrested him at Crazy John’s restaurant in East Baltimore in late 2009.

He alleged that the officers assaulted him because he parked his car too close to a fire hydrant. The police charged him with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and possession of an open container of alcohol. All charges were later dropped.

Other Spending Items

The board – which includes Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt – also approved the following items at a five-minute-long meeting today:

$2,001,401 to the YMCA of Central Maryland to provide Head Start services for 338 children and their families. A two-month advance of $400,280 was approved by the board in July, making the total contract amount $2,401,681.

$2 million to Isobunkers LLC to provide heating oil to several city departments. This contract is a no-bid extension of a $1 million contract for heating oil.

$1.5 million to Digicon Corp. to provide network and systems support for the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology. This is a no-bid extension of a $7.56 million contract awarded in 2006.

• $1,424,103 to Spiniello Companies for extra works orders (EWOs) sought by the bureau of water and wastewater. This is part of a controversial $10 million contract with Spiniello that has since ballooned to more than $19 million.

$750,000 to Rummel, Klepper & Kahn (RK&K) for on-call engineering design services for the Department of Recreation and Parks.

$300,000 to Citizens Pharmacy Services for pharmaceuticals for the Fire Department. This is a no-bid extension of a $300,000 contract approved by the board last November.

$200,000 to Paetec Communications to provide long-distance telephone service to the city. This is a no-bid extension of a $200,000 contract approved by the board last October.

$94,801 to Whitman, Requardt & Associates for an extra work order (EWO) in the reconstruction of Central Ave. The original contract was for $1.82 million.

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