Secret decisions by Dell, Frazier harm government What...


July 30, 2000

Secret decisions by Dell, Frazier harm government

What is happening to Carroll County government?

Carroll County taxpayers may never know why Director of Public Works J. Michael Evans was forced to resign. There are rumors, but Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier felt that the public and Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge did not need, or have a right, to know.

Despite this secrecy, it is obvious that effective county government is being undermined, and it will take a long time to restore it.

The uproar created by the Evans case is not an isolated incident. In January 1999, the commissioners decided to reorganize county government. All the department chiefs were forced to submit their resignations.

These events made big headlines for several weeks. Yet what is even more important is the long-term impact the commissioners' actions will have on the county.

The Department of Planning is a prime example of the commissioners' efforts to reduce government to the point where it is no longer capable of operating for the benefit and protection of taxpaying residents.

After the planning director resigned, they eliminated the deputy director's job. They also failed to fill two positions for planners -- one for South Carroll and one for Westminster/Finksburg. One post has been vacant for more than 18 months.

The commissioners also did not replace the two transportation planners they let go or the historic planner (and his salary was paid for by a grant, not by county taxpayers).

Without transportation planners, the county's ability to access developer plans independently has been compromised.

Other positions related to land-use have also been affected. The positions of zoning administrator and zoning inspector remain unfilled. The commissioners have not been in a hurry to hire anyone to fill these positions.

Now they have, without any obvious cause, fired the director of the largest department while he was working on a number of complex projects. Who is next?

Commissioners Dell and Frazier do not appear to have any long-term vision of what is best for Carroll County and its residents -- except that less government is better, despite the fact that this stance will probably cost us more in the future.

The commissioners, who are supposed to be part-time officials, seem bent on micromanaging every aspect of county government. Yet they have succeeded in seriously weakening local government's ability to properly fulfill its duties, especially in the areas of planning, regulating growth and development, and the environment.

Unfortunately, the next set of commissioners will have to spend a lot of time and money repairing the damage done by the current board to the county government and county employees' morale.

Other problems that are a result of their term in office may be more difficult to resolve.

Tom McCarron


The writer is chair of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.

Piney Run too fragile for use as water supply

Opposed to the use of Piney Run Lake as a water supply for the Sykesville-Eldersburg area? Most emphatically!

Because it may disrupt the use of the lake as a recreational facility? No, that would be too frivolous a reason to even consider. Providing recreational facilities is not a governmental function or responsibility, nor should it be.

The Piney Run Lake is by far too fragile to reasonably consider its use as a major water supply and, considering the 1993 mercury spill at the lake, may not be the safest source for public water.

While Piney Run Park consists of approximately 300 acres, one must realize that the park consists of woods, nature trails and picnic facilities as well as the water areas. The two tiny streams that feed Piney Run Lake cannot possibly provide enough water to become a major water supply. Our lovely lake could soon become Piney Run Mud Flats.

Is this simply another ploy, regarding the scarcity of public water in the area, to placate the very angry citizens? Wasting millions of hard-earned taxpayers' dollars will not resolve or relieve the present water and sewer problem.

If the various Boards of Carroll County Commissioners had complied with the Adequate Facilities Law in the state code, instead of trying to circumvent it, we would not be in this predicament.

Basically, the Carroll County Adequate Facilities Concurrency Management ordinance (approved March 5, 1998) states that although the state mandates adequate facilities in order to issue building permits, the Carroll County commissioners will issue whatever building permits they desire, whenever they desire, whether or not the county is in compliance with state law.

In essence, those commissioners thumbed their collective noses at the state and at the best interests of Carroll County citizens. This arrogance will cost county citizens dearly.

Abigail N. Ormale


Stamp of disapproval for Union Bridge story

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.