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August 23, 2016

Some Words for the Wise

Harry M. Covert

This space has inveighed numerous times against Frederick County's charter government. Similarly, discussion is prominent toward the administration and tactics of the elected county executive who, in reality, is the chief cook and bottle washer. The position is untouchable.


What brings all this to the forefront is the executive's recently returning $49,736.87 to our friends in Baltimore.


These funds were payment to the Frederick County Sheriff's office for helping quell in the 2015 rioting and looting and other types of mayhem.


The topic has been aired on radio and local news. Some citizens have rejected not cashing taxpayers' checks and the outcry is growing.


The funds were rejected without any support or notification of the County Council.


The sheriff sent his team to help. The office provided eucatastrophic services in the time of dire need of a neighboring jurisdiction. Maryland's largest city was in a catastrophic situation.


Forgive use of eucatastrophic. It is perfectly proper and means a favorable result which is what Baltimore received from the sheriff's pros. Since school has begun students can learn some new vocabulary other than "yeah, but."


Now back to the county executive's money gymnastics – here today, gone tomorrow. 


While the above occurred by whim, it must be pointed out the mumpsimous action is primarily the fault of the Charter Government writers, not to be confused with Thomas Jefferson and colleagues who wrote well several centuries ago.


Chances to do away with the county's present form of government are practically nil. There has been some talk of public alarm, but the chatter is slow gaining steam.


Mumpsimous? Another proper term. It describes the county executive's action which was legal. Her governing style has set a tradition that is unreasonable.


The question now becoming popular is – what's the purpose of electing a council? The executive has a mandate no matter who it is, and the council has no authority involving day-to-day administration.


Why anyone would want to be a council member is difficult to imagine and probably a waste of time and energy.


The charter writers were not supposed to create a dictator form of government. They did and that is a mighty good deal if you are the beneficiary.


Under the present form, the executive, elected at large by voters, has perhaps the best chosen position locally and statewide.


When "keys to the kingdom" are given legally, grab them and run and enjoy the perks and everything that goes with them.


The executive is not required to attend council meetings. Nice arrangement. Why go? She can watch on the county's cable channel, or DVR to see later when the spirit moves or a staff memo arrives.


The current structure will draw lots of interest later when another executive term becomes available. This post offers fewer headaches than being governor, or in the legislature, or federal lawmaker. It pays well too.


Politics can be fun?


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