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April 26, 2010

Campaign Diary Voices Heard

Michael Kurtianyk

Tuesday, April 20 – Joint Commissioners/Board of Education Meeting


Back on March 16, 2010, I made some public comments to the Board of County Commissioners on the suggested delay of funding for the addition and modernization of Lincoln Elementary School, where my wife teaches. The $24 million dollar construction project has been postponed in the current Capital Improvements Program until 2014.


My suggested solution was to come up with a public/private partnership. I cited the work done in Portland, OR, and Nova Scotia. The bidders competed on price, and the cost of the project was converted into a lease back to the school system. Similar proposals have been made in the past, and every new school construction is open for bids.


I was invited back to offer public comment after discussions between the Board of County Commissioners and the Frederick County Board of Education on the public/private partnership for school construction. The thrust of the meeting was to find out if this could be done. After both sides looked at the materials, which I provided, there was very little discussion and no opposition. The tenor seemed positive.


I did speak, and offered to help on a task force, if one was deemed appropriate, to help the governing bodies look at solutions. After I spoke, another gentleman, Omari Patterson, offered to be on the task force, citing his support for my proposed solution to building future new schools.


After the meeting, I did speak with one of the Board of Education members, more at a personal level than anything else. It was a good experience because I was able to see a personal proposal for the good of the school community gain traction. Let’s see where it goes.


Thursday, April 22 – Morning Breakfast with Champions


I spoke at a breakfast this morning with leaders in the business community. We met at a local restaurant, and there were nearly 20 people in attendance, and I had a chance to talk to everyone prior to speaking. After everyone had a chance to order their breakfasts and get caught up with each other, I spoke.


What made it fun was that I followed the similar format I’ve done before, but it was a smaller, more intimate group. I spoke about what I’d been hearing from people during my campaign, and mentioned some things I’d heard that morning. I knew many of the people there, and I made it a point to talk to those I’d not met before at length.


I find myself no longer being nervous about the talking points. Though I do admit I need some polish, I do know that I’ve improved these last few weeks. My personality is coming out more, and that’s a good thing. We have two more events in the next few weeks, and I’m eager to see what happens.


The question and answer session was great. I was impressed by the quality of the questions, and everyone seemed eager to challenge me. It reminded me that every meeting like this can be fun, interactive, and stimulating. These business leaders are great success stories.


That all of the business leaders in the restaurant were women made no difference. I wish that some of them would run for county commissioner.


Thursday, April 22 – Morning Discussion on FY 2011 Operating Budget


Due to prior commitments after the breakfast meeting, I was unable to attend the Board of County Commissioner discussions on the Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2011. I was able to see it later when the video feed was uploaded. I’d heard from people that it was great television, and they were certainly correct. You can see for yourself at (


My take is that it’s obvious how much animosity there is among the commissioners. They were talking over each other, sometimes using derogatory words, and showing an overall lack of common courtesy. It’s a shame that things have reached this level. This goes beyond being adversarial and having healthy discussions.

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