Commissioners have not accepted job responsibility...


July 23, 2000

Commissioners have not accepted job responsibility

There are two words that must be an integral part of the vocabulary of the government. They are responsibility and accountability.

Elected officials must be responsible for being accountable to the voters who put them in office.

These are the people who pay the salaries of all county employees. There is absolutely no reason that county taxpayers should expect anything else or be given anything less.

This is not the case, however, with our county commissioners, who continue to embarrass and misguide our county. When I think that nothing else will occur to insult the intelligence of the average citizen, I pick up the newspaper and find something else.

I am referring, of course, to the latest debacle of the board regarding the dismissal of Michael Evans as county public works director.

The fact that they refuse to confide in or respect one another as individuals is truly amazing on any level. Such an action by Commissioners Robin Bartlett Frazier and Donald I. Dell not only slaps Julia Walsh Gouge in the face, it also slaps the county in the face as well.

I think they need to recall whose money backs the paychecks they sign. Their job as public servants is to be responsive, open and honest to the electorate.

The job of Mr. Evans was one that directly affected our daily lives. The Department of Public Works is a major department that carries such responsibilities as environmental and transportation issues, as well as issues of santitation. It is assumed that the person leading such a department is an intelligent, capable human being.

If he suddenly loses his position without clarification to the members of his department or to all of the commissioners, one must wonder what suddenly went wrong.

Indeed, was Mr. Evans given previous reprimands regarding his work conduct? Is there some system in place that gives warnings to employees under contract that their jobs may be in jeopardy? Are they allowed to correct their mistakes, and are they so guided accordingly?

Or is the fate of county department heads determined solely by the whim of the county commissioners?

If this is the case, then there is something drastically wrong with the system. A system that is working properly does not allow a situation to escalate to this level without anyone being aware that a problem of professional conduct exists.

This kind of behavior by Commissioners Frazier and Dell is certainly not new. They have long been perceived as a "team" before this incident. Commissioner Dell stated during the last election that he and Ms. Frazier were "soul mates." Hence, their close working relationship, making decisions without input from the third commissioner, is not a surprise but an expectation.

The integrity that comes with holding positions of higher office cannot be ignored or abused. At the very least, Ms. Gouge should be given an explanation.

At the time of the incident, however, she should have tabled the vote until a discussion could be held and entered into the public record.

The bottom line is simply this: If all communication lines were continuously open between commissioners, and if all meetings to discuss important issues of county business were only held if all three were in attendance, this situation could have possibly been abated, if not avoided altogether.

Something is wrong with the daily process by which our government is being run.

Running the government is not a game of cat and mouse. It is not a matter of upstaging each other or of personal conflict. It must not be taken lightly.

I believe an explanation is in order, if not for the reason why Mr. Evans was dismissed, then certainly for the reason why we as taxpayers were treated so dishonestly and disfavorably. This is not a wish on our part, but a demand.

Betty Smith


Dell's secret decisions reveal a petty dictator

I think the time has come for Carroll Countians to stand up and take note. Commissioner Donald I. Dell has served up yet another reason for public indignation at his decisions governing this county, with the secret and forced resignation of the county's public works director, J. Michael Evans.

In his usual style, Mr. Dell has kept the public from the truth in favor of pursuing his own agenda.

Over the past several months, Mr. Dell has successfully alienated Gov. Parris Glendening with his covert, deliberate defiance of the state's Smart Growth laws and betrayed the town officials and people of Hampstead with his secret deal with Sweetheart Cup Corp.

It is long overdue that action be taken against this petty dictator. His immediate resignation is the first step that we, the taxpaying people of Carroll County, need to take to return to the proper course of government by the people and for the people.

Establishing a charter form of government is the second step.

Matthew J. Hyatt


Boys Scouts take stand for morality, values

I would like to respond to the July 1 article "Scouts' anti-gay victory could be costly."

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