Secret decisions by Dell, Frazier harm government
What is happening to Carroll County government?
Carroll County taxpayers may never know why Director of Public Works J. Michael Evans was forced to resign. There are rumors, but Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier felt that the public and Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge did not need, or have a right, to know.
Despite this secrecy, it is obvious that effective county government is being undermined, and it will take a long time to restore it.
The uproar created by the Evans case is not an isolated incident. In January 1999, the commissioners decided to reorganize county government. All the department chiefs were forced to submit their resignations.
These events made big headlines for several weeks. Yet what is even more important is the long-term impact the commissioners' actions will have on the county.
The Department of Planning is a prime example of the commissioners' efforts to reduce government to the point where it is no longer capable of operating for the benefit and protection of taxpaying residents.
After the planning director resigned, they eliminated the deputy director's job. They also failed to fill two positions for planners -- one for South Carroll and one for Westminster/Finksburg. One post has been vacant for more than 18 months.
The commissioners also did not replace the two transportation planners they let go or the historic planner (and his salary was paid for by a grant, not by county taxpayers).
Without transportation planners, the county's ability to access developer plans independently has been compromised.
Other positions related to land-use have also been affected. The positions of zoning administrator and zoning inspector remain unfilled. The commissioners have not been in a hurry to hire anyone to fill these positions.
Now they have, without any obvious cause, fired the director of the largest department while he was working on a number of complex projects. Who is next?
Commissioners Dell and Frazier do not appear to have any long-term vision of what is best for Carroll County and its residents -- except that less government is better, despite the fact that this stance will probably cost us more in the future.
The commissioners, who are supposed to be part-time officials, seem bent on micromanaging every aspect of county government. Yet they have succeeded in seriously weakening local government's ability to properly fulfill its duties, especially in the areas of planning, regulating growth and development, and the environment.
Unfortunately, the next set of commissioners will have to spend a lot of time and money repairing the damage done by the current board to the county government and county employees' morale.
Other problems that are a result of their term in office may be more difficult to resolve.
The writer is chair of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.
Piney Run too fragile for use as water supply
Opposed to the use of Piney Run Lake as a water supply for the Sykesville-Eldersburg area? Most emphatically!
Because it may disrupt the use of the lake as a recreational facility? No, that would be too frivolous a reason to even consider. Providing recreational facilities is not a governmental function or responsibility, nor should it be.
The Piney Run Lake is by far too fragile to reasonably consider its use as a major water supply and, considering the 1993 mercury spill at the lake, may not be the safest source for public water.
While Piney Run Park consists of approximately 300 acres, one must realize that the park consists of woods, nature trails and picnic facilities as well as the water areas. The two tiny streams that feed Piney Run Lake cannot possibly provide enough water to become a major water supply. Our lovely lake could soon become Piney Run Mud Flats.
Is this simply another ploy, regarding the scarcity of public water in the area, to placate the very angry citizens? Wasting millions of hard-earned taxpayers' dollars will not resolve or relieve the present water and sewer problem.
If the various Boards of Carroll County Commissioners had complied with the Adequate Facilities Law in the state code, instead of trying to circumvent it, we would not be in this predicament.
Basically, the Carroll County Adequate Facilities Concurrency Management ordinance (approved March 5, 1998) states that although the state mandates adequate facilities in order to issue building permits, the Carroll County commissioners will issue whatever building permits they desire, whenever they desire, whether or not the county is in compliance with state law.
In essence, those commissioners thumbed their collective noses at the state and at the best interests of Carroll County citizens. This arrogance will cost county citizens dearly.
Abigail N. Ormale
Stamp of disapproval for Union Bridge story
I took exception to the quotes attributed to Long and Foster's Westminster office agent Hank Johnson in the July 16 article "Union Bridge still waiting to be discovered."
One of the virtues of living in this undiscovered town was the fact his wife could attempt to mail a letter to her sister in Europe for the price of a first-class stamp in this country.
The post office there put on the correct postage and mailed it for her. He says, "See if that happens in Baltimore."
Is he being condescending to both the U.S. Postal Service in the city as well as to Baltimore itself? Or is he trying to give the impression residents of Baltimore have a better sense of geography than those in Union Bridge?
Either way, the statement was made in poor taste. In appearing to slam Baltimore he does not increase Union Bridge's stature.
I would trust that he have better judgment in future comments about any area of this great state.
Thomas H. Kiefer
Boy Scouts tolerance is not acceptance
The Boy Scouts of America is an organization whose main goal is to help young men mature into healthy and responsible adults by exposing them to a belief system which capitalizes on integrity, strong character and good morals.
Therefore, they should have the right to deny membership to those peoples whose belief and moral system, undermine those goals. It is awful for me to listen to people slander the Boy Scouts as hate-mongers and accuse them of teaching intolerance when that is completely untrue.
The scouting program is a "safe haven" in which young men are taught to be tolerant and respectful of all people and, as stated in the Scout Law, "Friendly, Courteous, Kind."
However, tolerance does not dictate acceptance of moral standards that are radically different than those we are taught by our religious leaders. After all, scouts are reverent as well.
There is no reason why the scouting program should be forced to accept something, which they do not believe in nor advocate.
I hold the rank of Life Scout. I believe that those who take offense at the Supreme Court ruling (barring homosexual leaders in the organization) or feel that it promotes injustice and intolerance simply do not understand what it means to be a Boy Scout, or what beliefs, morals and values Scouts hold.