In response to The Frederick News-Post’s editorial “Councilman Delauter: It’s all about service & sacrifice” (Feb. 28 edition), Councilman Kirby Delauter is servicing the citizens of Frederick County who elected him. He is sacrificing time away from his business and family to do so. I see no conflict of interest in what he is doing. I don’t always agree with Delauter’s opinions or everything he says, but the people who elected him have the right to have him represent them.
My company competes against W.F. Delauter & Son for new development work in Frederick County, so it would be to my advantage as a businessman to have him excluded from working in Frederick County. It would be a disadvantage for me as a citizen of Frederick County to have him excluded from servicing the citizens of Frederick County because he can’t make a living for him and his family.
There are two types of contracts with Frederick County for utility work: developer-funded and taxpayer-funded. For developer-funded work, the developer selects the contractor that provides the best combination of price and service to meet their needs (no taxpayer money). Taxpayer-funded work is publicly advertised for all qualified contractors that want to submit a sealed bid for this work. No one knows until the bids are publicly opened what prices are being offered to perform the work. The lowest price offered by a qualified contractor is awarded the contract. There is no way for Delauter to have any influence or advantage over anyone else to be awarded this work. The only way to get the work is for him to submit the lowest price. For Delauter to receive either type of contract, there is no conflict of interest. For county-funded work, he has to submit the lowest price. For the developer-funded work, he has to offer the best price and service to meet the developer’s needs. (This work is paid for by the developer, and no taxpayer money is used.)
The only place I can see a possible conflict of interest would be in the inspection and acceptance of the utility work by Frederick County. This will not happen as long as county employees do their job properly and have Delauter’s company meet all of the requirements for the work to be done correctly.
The only safeguard I can see that needs to be in place is to make sure county employees who inspect and accept the work are not under any influence by Delauter. With our new form of charter government I see no way for Delauter to have any influence or control over the county employees who will inspect and accept the work done by him. Almost anyone who is elected in Frederick County may have something they could vote on that would benefit them — a park in their neighborhood, a new road so they could get to work easier, etc.
My point being, we need all types of citizens to be able to represent us in local government — business people, schoolteachers, private company employees, retired people, etc. If you deny regular citizens the ability to represent us, you end up with career politicians.
writes from Mount Airy.