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March 19, 2015

Insisting on Cooperation

Patricia A. Kelly

Blaine Young suggested “working together to get things done in his recent letter to The Frederick News Post. He had other things to say as well, including that bit suggesting his promise to run only once was the cause of his election loss. How silly was that?

Blaine didn’t lose because he changed his mind about running. That was actually a reasonable choice, given the circumstances.

He did lose the election, though. Not because God struck him with lightening for changing his mind, but because he behaved arrogantly, failed to respect diverse opinions, snacked and looked at his cell phone while constituents passionately testified, and then announced decisions within minutes of the end of testimony. He also violated some rules of personal conduct, creating at least the appearance of impropriety, placing his personal desires above his honesty, and ignoring his own family’s right to respectful treatment. It was his to lose and he lost it, nearly begging to be taken down a notch. Some of us think his personal issues cost us a lot.

He is an intelligent man, hindered by his own inflated opinion of himself, which he didn’t inherit from his mom. Perhaps his time off would be well spent contemplating this, rather than God’s personal attention to his off the cuff promises.

His advice now, though, along with his regret for not having taken it himself, is right on.

We need to work together.

We are all guilty of looking at the world through the filter of our own pre-conceived notions. Those of us who remember approvingly the trouncing of Jan Gardner’s last board, are spring loaded to believe that, every time she changes something, she’s doing it to make herself look good, and to undo the accomplishments of Blaine Young’s board.

Those who hated the Young board celebrate her every action, looking forward to making things right here again.

Maybe she is purposefully dismantling Young’s accomplishments. Maybe she will implement programs that put us back in the position we found ourselves after her last term, with the budget in disarray, multiple perceived property rights violations, piles of pending lawsuits, a sense that business was not welcome here.

Maybe instead she’s learned from the past and is trying to do the right thing.

It would be wrong to assume that Bud Otis has repudiated the Republican electorate, mistaken his role as council president for a diplomatic post, and become part of a purposeful effort to hurt the conservative members of the County Council. It’s hard to imagine he knows conservative council members are not getting requested information in the same manner as their Democratic peers. It’s hard to imagine he could have purposefully declined to inform Kirby Delauter of why his recent proposed agenda items were removed without notice.

Jan Gardner said on 930WFMD radio that Mr. Otis told her, when she asked, that he would get around to emailing Mr. Delauter. That’s just hard to imagine, certainly not consistent with the statesmanship Mr. Otis promised.

How can it be that the new ethics panel has a number of newly reported violations to consider against Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve? They’ve been around for years. Do you think they would behave in a manner that would leave them open to this?

Is it old hatreds and rivalries that are driving our leaders? Are they more interested in hurting each other than in helping us?

If so, it’s time for them to stop and take a deep breath. In order for Frederick County to move forward, we need to work together. We need to give each other a chance. We need to be transparent and honest, and demand the same of our leadership. They owe us a good job. We hired them, and we pay their salaries. They should hold our hard-earned money in sacred trust, spending it carefully and thoughtfully, balancing “our” budget without trickery, in order to make things good for us, their employers.

It’s not about them looking good. It’s about them behaving well, and working out the kinks in the new Charter government in a manner that will serve their constituents.

So, let’s open our minds, give both sides a fair hearing and demand the best from our new leadership team. Thank goodness we have representation on both conservative and progressive sides, because both have ideas of value.

Let’s take a minute or two every day to check on what our leaders are up to. Let’s remove our filtered lenses, insist they do the same, give them a chance, and insist they all work together. Our county, and our quality of life here, depend on it.


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