An interesting issue came up at the last Board of Education candidate forum. One of the candidates, teacher’s union endorsed, 19-year-old Camden Raynor, expressed his eagerness to vote on the school system’s budget. This is a core function of BOE members, and it’s great that Camden understands that. But Camden also shared at the forum that he still lives with and is dependent on his parents, both of whom are FCPS teachers.

So here’s the main question. Can Camden cast votes on the FCPS budget since he would directly benefit from his votes? Related to that, could he even serve to constitute a quorum when the board discusses budget matters? Has he requested an ethics opinion on the matter?

It’s common today for young people to live with mom and dad for extended periods as they try to launch grown-up lives. But it’s not common for young people to be in a position to cast votes to raise mom and dad’s paychecks. I’m sure the teachers union had ample reason to endorse this precocious teen to vote on a budget of more than $615 million. And we definitely need more student engagement countywide. But we also need clean votes on a budget that impacts Frederick County taxpayers so much.

Coincidentally, a similar issue came up with union-endorsed candidate Karen Yoho (a recent FCPS retiree). Is she able to vote on items related to post-employment benefits since she relies on those benefits herself?

Four years ago, as candidates and FCPS teachers, Jerry Donald and Jessica Fitzwater quickly cleared up a similar issue by getting an ethics opinion (even though Council Members do not directly benefit from their education budget votes). So I’m not saying these issues are necessarily disqualifying or even suspicious. But we at least need to think about ethics before we cast our votes in November.

Stephanie Covati

Middletown

(23) comments

jsklinelga

The comments are anticipated but is the issue really resolved about the council members? This is a relatively new situation somewhat legitimized by an obscure Obama era presidential Executive order. But for years upon years this was not permitted. A very legitimate question concerning the Council members is whether there election is in violation of Federal law. "Hatched?"

public-redux

“A very legitimate question concerning the Council members is whether there election is in violation of Federal law.”

What makes that a legitimate question?

jsklinelga

public-redux
Do our schools receive federal funding? What funding? Is there federal laws restricting government employees in related areas? The question would be moot and solely in the domain of State law if no federal money was involved.

public-redux

A law (a legislated law — your favorite kind!) enacted in 2012 limited the prohibition on state and local employees running for elective office to employees whose salary is paid completely by federal loans or grants.

Are you saying that FCPS teachers are paid entirely by federal funds? If that isn’t what you are saying, then what are you saying?

awteam2000

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Brad Young serve as President of the Board of Education for Frederick County, while his brother served as president of the County Commissioners for Frederick County? Do you know?

Freducator

These are great questions. And I appreciate the civil and respectful tone. But reading between the lines, the real question is why we’d want someone in the BOE with no experience and no qualifications. He lives with mom and dad and wants to bump their pay. Is this really the best we can do? I’m all for precocious teens, but not voting on my tax dollars.

sevenstones1000

Oh yeah, that’s all civil and respectful, Freducator. Epic fail. Try again.

phydeaux994

It's the same old problem since the beginning of time Freducator, how do youm get experience and qualifications? By doing it! Camden Raynor gets my vote.

Freducator

Pick a surgeon that way and report back to us.

phydeaux994

What was your first job? Were you experienced and qualified to do it on your own? No! You had help. You had mentors and fellow workers who helped you correct your mistakes and avoid others. They do not put a beginning surgeon in the operating room by him/herself to do the surgery alone do they? But somebody is on that table when they make that first closely supervised incision. You'll never know. Vote for Camden.

DickD

We have a student on the Board of Education for student input, not for voting on any issue.  If they are going to be voting on issues, they need to stand for election, the same as all other Board members.

sevenstones1000

He is, Dick. Try to keep up.

DickD

I misread it, I thought he was running as a student, where only students vote for the candidate.

butterflygirl

He is standing for election.

sevenstones1000

Thank you for that nasty attempt at a smear.

Mr. Raynor gets my vote.

You people must be getting really desperate.

KAYoho

While we appreciate your concern, all candidates have to fill out a form for ethics review. Former board member Katie Groth and current member Mike Bunitsky are former FCPS employees. Fortunately, this is a nonissue. I first heard it raised by another candidate. This has been checked out and cleared.

sevenstones1000

You have my vote, Ms Yoho. Who is this tragic woman writing hate mail?

Freducator

This high handed response totally misses the point. Declaring an ethical conflict isn’t the same as resolving it or getting an official ruling. Apples and oranges.

threecents

"We appreciate your concern"?? You might as well have written, "Don't concern your pretty little head."

Titanman123

Good point—but don’t waste your breath, he isn’t going to win!

butterflygirl

Bet you just love CR?

DickD

Are you saying two peas in a pod? CD is worse.

threecents

Good question.

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