Letters to the editor 11/27

November 27, 2002

Housing Authority has many heroes

To the editor:

There is an old adage regarding leadership. That is, if things go right you always give the credit to your boss and your staff, and if things go wrong it is your fault. I generally subscribe to that adage but recent newspaper articles have credited the success of the Hagerstown Housing Authority to me and have described things at the authority as bleak before I arrived here approximately six years ago. I am not a saint so I am not going to say that I have not had a hand in our successes, but key people have been left out of this rare expression of success by a Housing Authority.

First it is important to understand that the authority was successful in many ways before my arrival. Under the leadership of Chairperson Carolyn Brooks and Vice Chair William Clark, the authority was considered a "High Performer" by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The authority was financially sound. The Board of Commissioners and our general counsel, Lynn Williams of the firm Barton and Williams, recognized that the authority needed work in the area of personnel management, public relations and customer service. The staff knew we needed work in the areas of physical management and tenant responsibility.


It was my job to come up with a plan and direct the corrective action. Primarily all I needed to do was apply modern property management practices to the authority, replace a couple of key positions, and unleash a staff that is probably the best in the country. People like Deputy Directors Bruce Gigeous and Michael Stoner, Properties Administrator Sherry Talbert, Elderly and Family Services Directors Grace Weekley and Dianne Rudisill, Director of Security Rhonda Will, and Information Systems Director Joanne Ballengee are just a sample of the folks who are responsible for the success at the authority.

While I appreciate the credit for our success, I have been one cog in the wheel. Leaders are folks who do their job and treat others with respect and dignity. The Housing Authority of the City of Hagerstown deserves respect and dignity. The folks behind the scenes at the authority are the ones who made it happen and will continue well into the future.

Ted Shankle

Executive Director

Hagerstown Housing Authority

Thanks a brunch

To the editor:

The American Cancer Society held its 14th Annual Sunday Brunch on Nov. 3 at the Clarion Convention Center. They did an outstanding job on the seating arrangement for nearly 800 people who attended the event. Their service and food were excellent, especially the fresh fruit table and fancy dessert table of danishes, sweet rolls and assorted cakes and pies.

For years we have been overwhelmed with the people of the Washington County area's support of the event. Many have attended all 14 brunches. Some have volunteered to sell tickets, ads, and help to work that day. Over 100 local businesses purchased ads, gave items for the silent auction, and contributed toward raffle tickets. Others donated even when they were not able to attend.

Lou Scally, our master of ceremonies, great music by Easy Listenin' and pianist Darlene Smith, magicians Hugh McVeagh, Dean Burkitt, John Swomley and Jim Greer, and children's face painter, Mary Jane Koontz contributed freely with their talents and enthusiasm.

People seem to enjoy the event and have a great time socializing and eating good food with other people they know. The American Cancer Society brunch helps raise money for a good cause to cure cancer with thousands raised each year. This year we raised over $25,000 from the event. What makes the brunch great is that family, friends and neighbors get together for such a fine cause; many don't see each other all year long.

A wonderful thank you to the community! You made our day!

Diane Pullen


Jim Shifler


Don't teach hunting

To the editor:

If The Herald-Mail were to run a story abut parents handing their children guns and taking them out to shoot dogs and cats, the entire community would be outraged. We would all recognize it as cruelty to animals, and most would see it as a form of child abuse.

So why, when parents hand their children guns and take them out to shoot deer, do we celebrate it as good, clean fun? ("These hunters still wear braces," Nov. 17).

Deer have the same five senses and central nervous system that our companion animals have (not much different from ours, for that matter); and like dogs and cats, they have brains that are highly developed in the areas that process both physical and emotional pain. What is cruel to dogs and cats is also cruel to deer. Hunting is not a legitimate sport, it is legalized cruelty to animals.

I am a former hunter, and so I speak from experience. I gave up hunting years ago when I realized that killing a defenseless animal with a long-range, high-powered weapon when that animal wishes me no harm and has done me no injury is not something to be proud of.

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