In an amazing premonition of ethical actions by the our newly elected County Council, we have seen one of its members promote their own financial benefit — I speak, of course, to the actions by Councilman Jerry Donald.

As previously noted in my letter of July 22, “Flaws in new ethics proposal,” the major concern from our newly elected county executive, Jan Gardner, was a possible financial gain by “private” company owner in an elected position with our county government. This situation is highly dubious, as bids for county projects are not only sealed, but we have a county staff that should not be ethically influenced by a private business owner, even if that person holds a County Council elected position.

Yet, we were assured by our county executive, the previous ethics board, Gardner’s appointed Ethics Reform Task Force, the Frederick County Public Schools union, and numerous other political pundits that this could not possibly be of issue if we elected sitting school employees. Imagine our surprise to see this is not the case!

In an Aug. 5 Frederick News-Post article, “Budget takes center stage at joint meeting between Board of Education, County Council,” we saw exactly the opposite. “Donald questioned why Frederick County had fallen so far behind on teacher compensation when Washington County has a similar tax base.” Yes, you read that correctly — an elected councilman questioned why the school board has not raised his own salary!

Fortunately, The News-Post reported that school board members “likened the comparison between counties to that between apples and oranges, saying that budgeting looks different in every jurisdiction.”

It is time to either call upon those elected FCPS members (Donald and Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater) to either recuse themselves in such issues or, better, to honestly review the new ethics proposals (both via executive order and now through an ordinance) to realize it is biased and harmful to all people in Frederick County.

Farrell Keough

Urbana

(70) comments

KellyAlzan

Today's Humor:

FK wrote:
"I generally shy away from commenting upon my submissions, but I have to say, that was pretty funny public-redux.

Farrell Keough"

Good one!!

That's a crock of you-know-what! During campaign season Faril was a-commenting on his LTE's left and right!!!

public-redux

No need to go back that far. Comments to the July 22 missive puts the lie to his claim.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/opinion/letter_to_editor/flaws-in-new-ethics-proposal/article_48acb1d9-c8f2-59ff-9b14-f1ea5427c03a.html

KellyAlzan

[smile]

jill king

Didn't Donald and Fitzwater get a pay raise when they decided to get sworn in. Both checks come from the County taxpayers. Wah!

public-redux

How is taking on a second job equivalent to getting a pay raise?

Comment deleted.
armillary

But that's what the unemployed do....

shiftless88

The paper in my former hometown not only had a word limit on letters to the editor, they had a frequency limit of one per month. That might be a good policy for the FNP to adopt.

MAVRICKinc7

But isn't that the makings of CENSORSHIP in your former home town or a need NOT TO KNOW what's really going on from one day to the next? Once you limit free speech aren't you part of a dictatorship disguising itself as open journalism?

shiftless88

Seriously? Censorship has nothing to do with how often a private company allows you a forum. Is it censorship if Blaine didn't allow me on his program every day to spout whatever I wanted?

MAVRICKinc7

And if you were to show up at a scheduled Council meeting, wouldn't you be limited to 3 minutes to speak your piece? As with Blaine's radio show, how long did he ALLOW you to speak "what ever you wanted" from one day to the next, that didn't amount to much more than a one way conversation with yourself and your opinion on things?

What is it about an official who, through private ownership,and what we call the free press and what it believes to be OBJECTIONALBLE, electes to read and DELETES all or any part of a conversation that doesn't CONFORM to their standards of what constitutes appropriate public speech?

Isn't censorship the same as the LIE we tell ourselves every day and lying by OMMISSION, while leaving out the dirt and details, so as to make their focused point, like you are doing now, and have in the past, to keep the public less informed than they already are? Isn't that what Blaine Young and his BOCC managed to do for years and still present in our own Charter government.

We can't use the N word anymore, but they can. So, who's being censored with a politically correct edict that only applies to US and not THEM? As long as we remain divided there will always be some form of censorship in our public and private conversations. Isn't knowledge of our past history and mistakes being replaced, one flag or song at a time which is a symbolic gesture to those who claim to be upset or brought to anger for something THEY are not part of, but weilding its presence like a sword or bargaining chip for market share in what has not changed for hundreds of years.

Censorship is likened to the SAME LINE we have always been drawing in the sand and nothing more to show for either side than the status quo and pointing fingers in all other directions EXCEPT at ourselves.

Ask yourself, how many black of brown elected leaders will you find in Frederick or Frederick County government? What part of their presence in government has been strategically censored for more decades than I can remember? Didn't Hitler accomplish the same end, after killing off 11 million people he couldn't bring himself to tolerate and all for the sake of the German "Mother Land" and the same kind of prejudice and bigotry we encounter on a daily basis...or anywhere else in the world?

rpkrauss

This is truly a false equivalency. Councilman Donald advocating for increased spending in public schools would be roughly equivalent to Councilman Delauter advocating for incresaed spending on county infrastructure (I know it will never happen but we're talking hypotheticals here). Would there be anything ethically wrong with a sitting council person who owned a construction company lobbying for improvements to roads and sewers in general? No!
Now if Councilman Donald were to manipulate the process so that only he got a raise while other teachers did not would be an ethical problem. But we all know that cannot happen because the procees of funding teachers salaries is an open process that affects all educators.
Contrarily it is conceivable that a sitting councilman could affect the procees to benefit only his company if that process is not open and ethically grounded.
Mr. Keough your argument is misleading and biased not to mention false.

threecents

RPK, I think most of us see your argument is obviously correct, but FK's head is wired differently. Probably it is good to have different points of view, even if some do not appear to be grounded in logic.

MAVRICKinc7

RPK, since you're are dealing in hypothetics what reason do we have to follow your presumptions and speculation of what constitues best business practices which Delauter and Shreve have violated on many more occassions that Councilman Donald could make up on his best day at the office? Aren't you INTENTIONALLY trying to make something out of NOTHING?

threecents

Frederick is a great place, despite that smell the Blaine gang left. FK can Fabreeze and oxyclean all he wants, but that scent still clings to him.

DeDeuceCoupe32

I'm clicking my heals and nothings happening. Guess the ruby reds need another servicing.

MAVRICKinc7

threecents; AND to Frederick County Maryland.

FNP-reader

Why does the paper keep publishing biased letters from the same person over and over? I'm tired of his tired rhetoric.

DeDeuceCoupe32

Resent? Eliminate the LTE and a majority of comments resembles the same old tired rhetoric.

MAVRICKinc7

But without the likes of RPK, what reason would we have to wake up in the morning and have someone to put down or argue with? The FNP is just a messenger and provides the necessary ingredients for US to do battle with. There will always be an RPK in the audience. With him and his ilk they will never disapear from the landscape of the LIE. If it weren't for the likes of himself we would not know what a lie looks or sounds like. If you want to see him gone, then stop responding to his need to be noticed. If he doesn't have an audience, who would be more disappointed with his disappearance; him or US?

bukweet

'sorry for the typo - i meant recent

bukweet

this is the 3rd recet lengthy & l o n g winded lte by FK.

is this the new FNP (Farrell News Post) ?

des21

Yeah, what I said- 2.5 hours earlier!

Sallyforth

This LTE is a ridiculous waste of everyone's time.

MAVRICKinc7

SO why read it in the first place?

Tigerzord

Let's see if Farrell shows up at D2 Councilman'sTony Chmelik Town Hall Meeting tonight at Urbana Library @ 6:15 - Anyone else from D2 want to join in? That's where this writer is from.

DeDeuceCoupe32

Everyone in Frederick Co. who believes teachers need a raise could care less how we achieve that goal. Even if it takes a Donald Fitzwatergate scandal to do so.

des21

I think the FNP should consider a name change- "The Farrell News Post." You wouldn't even have to change the acronym.

(The point, for the slightly obtuse, is that this guy gets published - A LOT!)[wink]

DickD

Far right radical ideas and he has the nerve to call FNP liberal. lol

MAVRICKinc7

If Donald Trump can capture the attention of a National Republican audience who's to say RPK can't do the same thing with his anger management profile as National politics has allowed its Republican audience to inhale, with MEDIA still at Trump's back BUT still blowing in the wind?

valerie_dale

The writer is equating two very 'unequal' statuses...the profiting of an owner of a company to that of an employee benefitting from the county. These could only be equated if Delauter was just an EMPLOYEE not an owner of his company...OR if Donald OWNED FCPS.

FrederickFan

Ethics reform is long overdue and it is a great honor to have Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner leading the way for all of Frederick County. She was swept into office last November on a pledge to clean up the corruption and filth in Winchester Hall carried out by those Keough supports.

LTEs like this remind us that the filth and corruption advocated by Keough are always waiting to slither back in. Ethics legislation will make it more difficult for that to happen.

Tigerzord

[thumbup]

MCEDDE21

[thumbup]

DickD

Farrell Keough is just upset because his buddy, Blaine lost. I am very pleased with Jerry Donald and is in my District, not Keough's. I like Jessica too and asking them to recuse themselves on a budget that goes to the Board of Education is not realistic. Keough needs to find something to do besides writing LTE's to the FNP.

hayduke2

” Yes, you read that correctly — an elected councilman questioned why the school board has not raised his own salary! I don't believe he was advocating for his salary as the writer implied but was, instead, asking a generalized question for clarification. What's wrong with that ? This letter writer does little to hide his real agenda.

MAVRICKinc7

That's why he remains a "foregone conclusion."

matts853

Farrell, It was good to see you at Chmelik's first town hall in Urbana a few weeks back. I hope you will attend tonight's follow-up meeting and that you get a chance to speak. I'm really looking forward to what you may have to say.

Matt Seubert

matts853

Here we go again...

"but we have a county staff that should NOT be ethically influenced by a private business owner"

Note the emphasis I added to the word NOT in this quote from the letter. It's true, staff should NOT be ethically influenced by business owners/elected officials; but as a commissioner Delauter DID openly challenge and threaten county staff to push through permits on his work. When that wasn't enough, he and the Blaine gang changed the rules to let Delauter inspect his OWN work through "third-party inspectors". Delauter also threatened and attempted to bribe the Mayor of Thurmont to work on the town senior center. He also sued his hometown of Thurmont over a personal issue on his residence. Not a very ethical track record here.

So it is Delauter, through his past bad intentions that has sown the seeds of this proposal. If he wasn't such a dishonest and menacing public figure then perhaps the proposal could have been watered down some to allow for subcontracting. But with him, and now Chmelik (who also owns a contracting business) on the council, I agree with the approach Jan has taken. Both of them have been heavily financially supported by developers and/or their surrogates to run for office. To me, that is an absolute conflict of interest in their vote on land-use and zoning matters, which given their trade leaves the door open for abusing the system for financial gain. Delauter, Chmelik, and Shreve are proven proxy votes for developers and should be the ones recused from voting on those matters. The new proposal is necessary to break the quid-pro-quo approval cycle of the past.

Now that Jan is handling county staff I have high hopes that the UNethical influence the prior BoCC had over staff will end. No more hiding Ron Burns from public hearings, and no more freedom for staff to make improper changes to correct "mapping errors" for pesky details like improper water/sewer classification or contiguous areas requirements. And that's just for starters.

Matt Seubert

armillary

[thumbup]

b1sellers

Thank you Matt. Exactly how I feel about it too.

FrederickFan

[thumbup]

BstD59

Very well said and completely accurate. Thank you, Matt.

Nicki

Farrell doing the bidding for his buddy again. He's smart enough to know the difference but hoping we are not.

Tigerzord

Ethics are much needed in Frederick County right now after four years of disgusting display of abuse and debauchery.

You're right Farrell, let's continue to pay our teachers the minimum to match what Blaine continued to do in schools with Maintenance of Effort - Get by with the minimum produces poor students. Is that what you want for your kids - low salary teachers - teachers who will leave Frederick County to go elsewhere. Frederick County Schools used to be the top schools, but with overcrowding, underpaid and under funded teachers, I guess you're ok with that! You also seemed to be ok with Blaine continuing to approve developments in an area where not only roads are inadequate, but the schools as well. You must not have children at Centerville Elementary - a relatively new school with over 20 portables and more building continues in Urbana - don't forget about those apartments coming - oh yes, I know a new school is coming in Urbana, but four new elementary schools will be needed to accommodate all the building in the SE part of the county - so our taxes will go up to pay for all the infrastructure needed - indeed the teachers may still not get their raise because Jan will have to take that much needed money to place it in places where Blaine robbed the county. And if we are going to talk about recusing - shouldn't good 'ole Billy & Kirby recuse themselves on Monrovia Town Center?

BstD59

As we build new schools caused by over-development we will need increased dollars to pay all of the new teachers that will be needed to staff the new schools. And what happens when teachers don't come flocking to apply because they can get better pay elsewhere?

There is not a visionary amongst Farrell and his Republican cronies.

Tigerzord

[thumbup]

b1sellers

[thumbup]

barbaradean8

all they have is their hate of the modern world

b1sellers

I agree Tiger.

public-redux

Using the logic of this letter, a property-owning council member or county exec who advocated a reduction in the property tax rate would be promoting their own financial benefit.

DickD

Very true, we all have our own aspirations. [thumbup]

DeDeuceCoupe32

If 2 Council members vote to lower property tax, all homeowners financially benefit. If 2 Council members / teachers vote to raise property taxes to increase BOE funds for teacher raises, all teachers benefit financially. The later logic is fine if you agree, but BS if you don't.

DeDeuceCoupe32

IMO, It has the appearance of representing teachers best interest and not the citizens.

public-redux

Here's one thing: not all citizens are property owners.

Here's another thing: an excellent public school system is in the public interest.

Note that I am not making the argument that higher salaries necessarily leads to an excellent school system. On the other hand, the private sector, where I work, does have a way of behaving as if higher compensation is somehow related to the quality of the workforce one attracts. We ignore the lessons of capitalism at our own peril.

MAVRICKinc7

BUT look at our student scoring, as a county, that has deteriorated over the last few years. Can the Frederick County student populations COMPETE on a global scale with the rest of the world that has US ranked 22nd out of other world Nations, including third world nations?

If Frederick County can't retain a qualified teaching staff, how does that translate to a student's level of success in the open and global markets and industry?

If mediocrity is our only goal, what incentive does our student population have in working toward excellence?

Jleftwich

Teachers are not in the profession to line their pockets.

Farrell Keough has a habit of writing LTEs riddled with red herrings.

Tigerzord

[thumbup]

DeDeuceCoupe32

Teachers in general, or public school teachers? If a public school teacher doesn't have the "volunteer their time attitude" they are in the wrong profession.

MAVRICKinc7

BUT isn't that a standard of care tantamout to slavery and slave wages? What is it about the Frederick County education system that demands something for NOTHING in return? How gullible would you want our teaching staffs to be and not recognize they are more than just VOLUNTEERS?

vicdavy

[thumbup][beam]

b1sellers

[thumbup]

barbaradean8

the current version of capitalism is a Ponzi scheme for all but the very rich

BlueDawn666

Just a round about way to say he wants Kirby to be able to bid on County work, so since he didn't write a letter that sounded logical in his previous July 22 LTE because he didn't logically think this statement through,... "as bids for county projects are not only sealed, but we have a county staff that should not be ethically influenced by a private business owner"...."should not be ethically influenced"..where have you been Farrell have you not been paying attention, did you not pay attention to the antics of the BoCC? There was no one such thing as Ethics in the BoCC..and so we are supposed to trust Kirby now???? Kirby is a bully and many people have no idea how to stand-up to a bully and will be influence by him.

So Farrell you decided the best course of action was to attack Jerry and Jessica? Thing is this letter still sounds illogical.

See how hard it is to argue for something illogical, logically? You were trying to be adroit and instead are looking very Spurious.

armillary

That last paragraph was unintelligible. Word salad. Summer slaw.

public-redux

Eh, it needed some parsing but it did make sense. "Premonition" in the first sentence, on the other hand, was abaftiious.

fkeough

I generally shy away from commenting upon my submissions, but I have to say, that was pretty funny public-redux.

Farrell Keough

matts853

And I have to say, Farrell, that you remain abaft on this issue.

armillary

Do you consider it unethical to comment upon your submissions?

public-redux

"I generally shy away from commenting upon my submissions..."

I regard that statement as false.

recordhigh

There is a difference here, though. Kirby Delauter is a business owner who could possibly influence the government to give his company contracts in subtle and behind the scenes ways, whether his bid is the best and most financially beneficial to the county or not. This is obviously unethical, unfair to other business owners, anti-competitive, and possibly even illegal.

Teachers, on the other hand, are already government employees, so this is a internal budget matter that is out in the open for all to see. And I don't think there is anything unusual or improper about elected officials, teachers or people in the private sector from advocating for a raise. But that's not even what's happening here, Jerry Donald is advocating for teachers in general, not his own salary. Ultimately, in any business or government agency some employees will have influence over compensation rates in a way that could impact their salaries. That's just the way it works.

Also, I think it's pretty reasonable to look at teacher salaries in similar neighboring counties to get an idea of where our own teachers salaries should be. Those are, after all, the counties that we are competing with for quality teachers for our children. I don't know why anyone would be proud of being worse than their neighbors.

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