Doing the Right Thing – or Not
Is Lois Jarman the best pick for the open slot on the Board of Education, or a political pick? Already a major decision by the county’s ethics panel will allow two council members – Jerry Donald and Jessica Fitzwater, also school system teachers – to participate in the selection of their new boss.
Let’s discuss whether Ms. Jarman, County Executive Jan Gardner’s pick for the slot vacated by the resignation of Ken Kerr – who was elected to the House of Delegates in November – should even be appointed.
Ms. Jarman ran for the Board of Education in 2016. She won the primary then quickly dropped out. In a video on her House of Delegates page in the 2018 election, she as much says that she and Shirley McDonald dropped out to prevent a Republican candidate from winning a seat. They were successful.
Ms. Jarman’s goals were not student centered, they were political. She could have run for the Board of Education in 2018, but she chose not to do so.
Let’s be clear, both Ms. Jarman and Ms. McDonald did not drop out of the race for the Board of Education because they wanted to, they were asked to do so for the good of the Democratic Party. Not because it was best for the students, but because it shut out Republicans and their ideas. Remember that the election of members of the Frederick County Board of Education is supposed to be non-partisan.
Dr. April Miller, a Republican, who has been sitting on the board for eight years chose to run. She wants the position because she wants to serve the people, not her party. She has served with honor and distinction.
If you look at Ms. Jarman’s 2018 delegate campaign finance report, you will see that County Executive Gardner donated $200 to her on February 3, 2018.
Ms. Jarman did not make it past the general election. She was promised help from her party and she got it in the forms of donations from David Trone, North Frederick Democrats, Shirley McDonald, Karen Lewis Young, Karen Tomb, Karl Bickel, Annette Brieling, Deborah Carter, Ken Kerr, Donna Kuzemchak, Jamie Raskin, Aruna Miller and Jim Racheff. A sort-of who’s-who in the Frederick County Democrats political world. There could be more, but those are the ones I am personally familiar with.
Inasmuch as none of them donated to Ms. Jarman’s 2016 Board of Education campaign, I am forced to infer these were the “party’s” way of compensating her for “taking one for the team” in 2016.
When Ms. Jarman failed to win in the 2018 general election, County Executive Gardner saw another way to reward her for her party loyalty. Board of Education member Kerr, even though only two years into his commitment to the parents, teachers and students of Frederick County, decided there were greener, more powerful positions to be had at the county’s delegate level. He won, thus creating a vacancy on the Board of Education.
CE Gardner could appoint Ms. Jarman to a seat she could not win and fulfil her party’s promise to help her in the future. Her appointment is all but assured inasmuch as the newly seated County Council are majority Democrat.
Which brings us to this moment. Should Ms. Fitzwater and Mr. Donald, both FCPS teachers vote on an appointment for a person who will be their boss, despite the go-ahead by the county’s Ethics Commission? Common Sense says no. If that’s the case, then the Republicans will have the majority vote should Ms. Fitzwater and Mr. Donald actually recuse themselves from the vote.
Will they do the right thing and vote “no” on Ms. Jarman, or will they do the political thing and vote “yes?”