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As Long as We Remember...

April 3, 2012

Candidates Threatened Mr. Brennanís Neighborhood

Earl 'Rocky' Mackintosh

For the first time in his career as president of the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA), Gary Brennan is feeling threatened that he may lose his coveted cabal of allies on the Frederick County Board of Education.


The panic that has set in throughout Mister Brennan's Neighborhood, where union members have generally been able to get their way, was revealed this past week.


It started with a quarter page color ad in The Frederick News-Post listing the FCTA's four choices of would be “Yes” votes for union requests. Next came the oversized post card arrived in the mail repeating the message.


Oh, and then there was the personalized robo-call from Gary himself which appears to be so intimate that it may have very likely violated federal campaign election laws.


The red letter day message was found in the News-Post. Along with a spelling error, Mr. Brennan laid the cards on the table, stating that his union wants voters to believe that the evil Young brothers (Brad, former president of the Frederick County Board of Education and Blaine, president of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners) need to be held "accountable," being too budget conscientious in their efforts to wring in the excessive spending habits of Frederick County Public Schools.


Of course, this comes from a teacher's union that refused to participate in a state level teacher accountability program a few years back.


Being familiar with "get out the vote" campaigns, I estimate that this effort by Mr. Brennan is an investment of over $25,000 to preserve his “Yes” vote majority on the school board.


Such spending by an organization is not unusual for those vying to win votes in county commissioner, state delegate or senate races, but unprecedented in a Frederick County Board of Education race.


The good news is that it is clear there are more people taking the workings of the Board of Education seriously with a large crop of candidates who seek the three seats up for grabs this November.


The sad news is that the FCTA has more than likely had to beg for financial aid from political action committees of the Maryland State Teachers' Association.


This act of desperation clearly comes from the candidacy of a few school board hopefuls. In particular, the words of Colleen Cusimano and Pam Ward demanding more accountability in the halls of the Taj Mahal have shaken the very foundation of FCTA and FCPS security.


In addition to Ms. Cusimano and Ms Ward, there are three other hopefuls who are considered threats:  Cindy Rose, Tony Chmelik and Jim Hoover.


So, with last week's launch of early voting, think who you want to truly hold accountable.


There is no question that the vast majority of teachers in our cherished county school system are dedicated, hardworking and underpaid compared to counties to our east, but for the first time in the short history of an elected Board of Education in Frederick County, there is an opportunity to introduce a healthy structure to Mister Brennan's Neighborhood.


Please make your Board of Education votes count in today’s primary.


Rocky Mackintosh is the owner of a land and commercial real estate firm based in Frederick. He is also the editor of the MacRo Report Blog.


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