Phillips running for seat as County Commissioner

August 20, 2002|by TARA REILLY

A former state economic development official said he thinks a performance audit of Washington County Public Schools would turn up significant savings to the county.

Harold "Hal" Phillips said that would be one of the first items he would push for if he's elected to the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Phillips, 61, of 13008 Blairs Valley Road in Clear Spring, filed Monday to run on the Republican ticket in the Sept. 10 primary election. The general election is Nov. 5.


All five commissioners seats are open.

Phillips said more should be done to make the school system more efficient.

He said there's "absolutely no doubt in my mind" that ideas from a performance audit would result in a 15 percent to 16 percent savings in the school system's more than $130 million operating budget.

Those savings could be used to boost teacher salaries, he said.

"Teachers today could be earning salaries $10,000 higher than what they are," Phillips said.

He said a chief operating officer could report directly to the County Commission on the operations of the school system.

Phillips last year was a main supporter of closing and consolidating underused school buildings to save money.

In a written statement, Phillips said he's concerned about the effects of development on the county, but he cautions against decreasing the value of property in order to control development.

He said the proposed changes to the county's zoning ordinance would decrease by a factor of 10 the number of potential building lots on nearly a quarter-million acres of county land.

"For me, it's very clear that using government fiat to rob people of most of their property's value - which they may be depending on for retirement, or putting their kids through college, or to back their business - is far worse than negative effects from development," he stated.

His wife, Kay, is treasurer of his campaign.

Phillips, vice president of marketing for Homes by Keystone Inc. in Waynesboro, Pa., served as regional manager in the Division of Regional Management for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development from 1986 to 1996.

He graduated from Boonsboro High School and continued his education at what was then Hagerstown Junior College and the University of Oklahoma's Norman Oklahoma Graduate Economic Development Institute Program.

The other Republican commissioner candidates as of Wednesday afternoon were incumbent Greg Snook and Dori Nipps, John C. Munson, Paul Toothman and Jaime Trujillo.

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