Editor's note: In the May 26 edition of The Harford County Sun readers were asked if they believed James Fielder, the recently appointed county director of economic development, should have disclosed to theCounty Council and the public during the interview process that he has more than $200,000 in liens filed against him. Here are some of the responses:
From: Frances S. Levy
I worked for Jim Fielder as an account executive and on-air talent when he owned WHRF. I think I am better able than most involved to comment on his integrity and business practices.
Simply put, I have rarely worked with a person with more integrity. If the courts say Jim is responsible for the liens he alleg
edly owes, he'll pay them. But that should be the court'sjudgment, not the county council's nor the public's.
The list of people who defaulted on contracts with WHRF when Fielder owned the station makes for interesting reading. While he was entirely within hislegal rights to take these businesses and individuals to court, he never did so.
He preferred giving them more time to make good on their outstanding balances and trying to work with them to collect a least a percentage of the money due him.
He said that going after them legally would create bad blood in the business community and wouldreflect negatively on him and his family.
As a result, he rarely collected what he was owned. It is interesting to note that while Jimprotected the reputation of those business people, none of them havestepped forward to defend him.
Jim and Pat Fielder returned to Harford County because they wanted to return to their roots. They wanted to continue their family's involvement with Harford County, which stretches back for several generations.
They felt a commitment to this region and to its people. They took a personal and financial riskwhen they abandoned their comfortable business, professional and personal lives in Michigan to come home.
Fielder is in the interesting position of being condemned simultaneously for being an outsider and for being too close to the business community.
It boggles the mind.
Here is a man who has run his own business and who has all of the technical and academic training one could want in an economic development director and who has the personal knowledge of the movers and shakers and possibilities of Harford County.
Perhaps the county should hire someone from the outside who knows nothing about it and who is interested only in working here until something more prestigious comes along instead of someone who came home and plans to stay here.
I won't be surprised if Fielder resigns. Neither he nor Pat deserve the kind of criticism being hurled at them. If Fielder does resign, the county loses a good, dedicated, intelligent man.
We all lose a second time, as well. For whenever a situation like this comes up, other good, dedicated, intelligent members of the private sector are given yet another reason to avoid public service and the quality ofour government drops down another notch.
DOESN'T FAVOR FIELDER
From: G.A. Murphy
Havre de Grace
Chalk me up as a Harford County voter who is not enamored by the politics of the new county executive. Specifically, the appointment of James D. Fielder Jr. as director of economic development for Harford County.
Fielder's reticence (along with the county executive's) to disclose to the council his troubles with the
Bank of Maryland -- Harford County reinforces my misgivings about the appropriateness of the executive's choice.
To be honest, it smacks of back-door politics when you realize that former councilman Ed Fielder, who lost his bid for re-election, is the brother of the newly appointed director Fielder.
Furthermore, accordingto Fielder's resume, he was at one time associated with Cox Real Estate and we know that William H. Cox also lost his re-election bid.
Would it be in the best interest of Harford County for the executiveto consider re-calling the appointment?
WHY PULL THE PLUG NOW?
From: Joanne Malloy
If unpaid bills and outstanding debts were reason to deny appointment to office, I don't think James Fielder would be too lonely. Also, don't you think the man really needs ajob now?