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March 24, 2011

Gray’s Juxtaposition(s)

Joan Marie Aquilino

After reading a recent article about County Commissioner David Gray’s frustrations, I was left with some frustrations of my own. I’m at a loss as to his reasoning. All of his frustrations were addressed and are contradicted by his previous statements about doing too much and not being paid well enough.


If I’m missing something, I hope the good commissioner will enlighten us all.


In a recent article by Sherry Greenfield in The Gazette, it was stated: “Frederick County Commissioner David P. Gray plans to start meeting regularly with County Manager Barry Stanton…,” and Gray said meeting with Stanton is necessary since the board has cut back its meetings from twice a week to once… as previous boards” had done.


This prompts the question as to why this is a problem for Commission Gray? He is one of five bosses Mr. Stanton works for, so why do you need to ‘plan to attend;’ just do it.


Commissioner Gray has had many noted absences over the years for various reasons. Wouldn’t fewer meetings make attendance easier as well as allowing, obtaining and retaining outside employment for all the commissioners? Logically, economically and for efficiency sake, isn’t one full day of meetings better than chewing up several days.


Mr. Gray was part of the board that hired Mr. Stanton, acknowledging his abilities and expertise. Why not allow Mr. Stanton to do what he was hired to do? What is the purpose of having a county manager if the county commissioners are going to micro-manage as previous boards have done.


If the employers feel the need to micro-manage, then they aren’t confident in your ability to hire the best, or they feel inferior to the professionals hired and need to prove something.


The job of county commissioner evolved into a full time position for five elected officials because of this type of behavior. This was never meant to be a fulltime position; those who had it made it so by not allowing or having confidence in their own staff.


“…Nobody seemed interested in doing anything about it," he (Gray) said. "I've had a number of people wondering why we only have one meeting. This is just not right. We get paid a decent salary I think we owe it to them [residents]…"


How very interesting – and apparently overlooked – that in 2008 Gray indicated the county commissioners deserved a raise, "It's only right” otherwise “ . . . older people only, or people that are independently wealthy, or people that are really squeaking by and don't have enough time on the job."


No consideration was given by Mr. Gray to the downhill economic spiral taxpayers were already struggling with to survive. He even turned on his fellow commissioner for daring to ask a question of the county attorney. A small quote from that encounter: “Gray mumbled under his breath, ‘Why don't we just say we'll [work] for free.’ [Commissioner Charles] Jenkins became enraged. ‘I don't need your sarcasm, Commissioner Gray,’ he countered. Gray replied that he was the least sarcastic member of the board: "That's too damn bad," he said.


Yet now, he says it’s a decent salary and he owes us more.


Make up your mind, Mr. Gray, which is it? Do you want more meetings to justify a salary increase, or do you want to do the job in the best and more economical fashion, thus freeing you up to have outside employment, making your own income instead of being old, retired or wealthy?


If my math is correct the commissioners get paid $45,000 per year and – for past commissioners where Mr. Gray served – there were also expense accounts, perks and benefits. He readily took advantage of and used all that was offered. Time didn’t permit me to find out what he is already pulling as a retirement salary or benefits from the county now, but it’s been publically stated in the past that he does receive money from the county besides his yearly commissioner salary.


So, let’s make a couple suggestions to Commissioner Gray.


1. By all means attend any and all meetings and report back exactly what is going on that frustrates you so very much. Please give specifics; we’d very much like to know.


2. Do whatever you feel is necessary the other six days of the week; i.e., attending other boards and commissions, doing another job, or have town hall meetings more often. Do what you feel is necessary for you to best serve the community, your family and yourself.


3. Last, but not least, by all means request a salary reduction since the workload is lessened and the opportunity of outside employment is available. As you’ve said, it would be the ‘right’ thing to do and we (residents) ‘deserve’ it.


. . . . .'til next time . . .


Let us know what you think . . .



Links to the above quoted articles:


Gray frustrated.................


Past articles refuting Gray’s present frustrations:


Salary raise proposal causes tempers to flare

“Commissioner David P. Gray feels so passionately that hard-working county officials deserve more money for the time they spend on the job that he let his temper get the better of him.”


Gray proposes raise for county commissioners

“It's only right, and otherwise we are going to have older people only, or people that are independently wealthy, or people that are really squeaking by and don't have enough time on the job," he said.”


Struggling Citizens = Pay Hike?

“From 2006 to 2010 the total salaries for a part time commissioner position will have more than doubled from $150,000 to $375,000. Commissioners also have a small expense account and are given mileage and computers, blackberries and wireless cards in some cases.”

Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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