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Letters to the Editor

June 24, 1998

No confidence in shoop or County Commissioners

To the editor:

I read Tim Rowland's June 14 editorial, "Commissioners' driving force plots questionable path," and was surprised by the astuteness of his observations. Rowland's description of County Administrator Rod Shoop's professional traits and administrative style seemed right on target. His observations echo the observations of many.

Shoop is indeed an intelligent, driven and purposeful man, but, as Rowland points out, he appears to lack certain traits necessary to success in public office. While working as a consultant to Washington County's human services agencies a few years back, I witnessed first hand Shoop's tendencies.

Agency directors, working as a collaborative planning committee responding to state mandates, made recommendations for structural reforms to children and family services within the county. The county (Commissioners/Shoop) disregarded the recommendations of our most knowledgeable professionals and followed their own proclivities. The planning committee arranged a meeting with Shoop to discuss the rational for this decision and were shocked by his demeanor. He showed no interest in the committee's opinions, treated agency directors like disobedient grade-school children and exploded in a tirade when the seemingly inoffensive phrase "felt sabotaged" was expressed.

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Indeed, Rowland's editorial was a bit unusual in that it was written in a clearly concerned and serious manner. It lacked the humor and sarcasm I normally expect in his writing. I got my good belly laugh a couple of days later, however, when a brief article appeared on page three announcing that Shoop was given a vote of confidence by the Commissioners. A batch of Commissioners we have no confidence in gave our county administrator a vote of confidence. The irony was just too great.

Mike Unruh

Hagerstown

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