It's not the weather


it's mismanagement Just when...

June 13, 1999

It's not the weather ; it's mismanagement

Just when you think you've heard everything from "King Donald" Dell, the Carroll County commissioner, he pops up with yet another gem. This time, it is in response to a water shortage in Freedom District. He tells us he "can't do anything about the weather."

Bear in mind that Freedom District has the same weather as every other part of the county, and, in fact, there is sufficient water for the fountain in front of Mr. Dell's office to spout day and night.

The problem is not one of weather, but of poor management -- Mr. Dell's, since this is his third term. That is three four-year terms to do something about the problems too much growth in South Carroll is causing.

First, he refuses to believe a problem exists. He continues to allow building at the most rapid rate in Carroll County history, bringing the need for more schools, roads and emergency services. But then, developers were Mr. Dell's chief source of support in the last election.

According to press reports, the Liberty Reservoir treatment plant is working at capacity. This means Freedom District, which draws on this plant, must suffer a water ban.

Freedom is the only part of the county that will have such a ban.

Worse, the county had a budget surplus of $18 million but did not use it to improve the water situation in South Carroll. Instead, the commissioners preferred to spend it for yet another chief of staff, improvements to the Agricultural Center and other frills while the people paying the price will pay an even higher price -- no water.

A new water treatment plant at Piney Run Reservoir could be built at a cost of about $10 million. More water could be drawn from wells at Springfield Hospital. The Liberty Reservoir plant needs to have its capacity increased and that may cost more than $4 million.

It is time for growth advocates such as Mr. Dell and Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier to put our money where their mouths are and stop the nonsense.

Water is a basic need. The Ag Center and other frills are not. Both commissioners campaigned heavily in the Freedom District with signs, visits and paraphernalia.

Stop treating South Carroll like a step-child and get busy providing us with water.

Gene Edwards


Lippy recollects and gives thanks

In response to a letter to the editor derisive of the "healing process" that most certainly did take place when I took office as mayor in 1995. Allow me to refresh the writer's memory. Surely, he remembers those days before 1994: council members openly feuding with each other; one member voting "aye" just because an enemy council person voted "nay," completely ignoring the issue at hand; one member threatening the town manager by saying, "I'm gonna have your job."

I campaigned on bringing a "healing process." I take pride knowing that this came about during my watch.

Also, may I thank all the kind, thoughtful people who sent me gifts, letters, etc. during my recent illness. I have neither the time nor stamina to communicate with all, due to the sheer volume. They may have to personally go through the experience before they can really know my gratitude.

I am rapidly recovering from what the doctor called a very slight stroke. It was so subtle, it took many medical tests to detect. I am as alert as ever, and can walk and talk the same as before. (Even my dearest friends and supporters might well have hoped I would talk just a little bit less.)

Some wise person said, "It is better to wrestle with the demons you know than those you don't." The stroke explains many other reactions, some of which made me doubt my head was screwed on correctly.

Please don't any of you get sick just so I can return the favor.

Elmer C. Lippy


The writer is former mayor of Manchester and Carroll County commissioner.

United Way like old Army shakedown

In my years as an employee, I chafed at the enforced "contribution" to the United Way fund levied by my employer.

It reminded me of the pay line in the Army. The First Sergeant doled out your earnings in cash. He had a contribution bucket for Army Mutual Aid on the table, right next to the guard duty and KP rosters.

If you didn't donate to the first, you ended up on one of the others. In government and big private business, the same type of unsubtle pressure is put on the working stiff to cough up or else. It is one bureaucratic hand washing the other.

United Way is not about efficiency in fund-raising. It is about controlling where charitable dollars go. There is, of course, a pretense of free choice. You can select the agency you want to receive your funds. Usually this has no real effect.

If you write in a dollar for agency X, the United Way bureaucracy simply takes an undesignated dollar and gives it to agency Y. Its predetermined fund distribution pattern remains in place. Only when large numbers of contributors exercise their right to designate does the bureaucratic control get challenged.

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