Letters to the editor 12/9

December 09, 2002

Commissioners should build consensus

To the editor:

The Washington County Retired School Administrators congratulate the newly elected County Commissioners. We commend them for their successful campaigns in a highly competitive contest.

The majority of the voters of Washington County have shown their confidence and trust in Greg Snook, William Wivell, Jim Kercheval, Doris Nipps and John Munson.

The purpose of this letter is not to analyze the 2002 election results or to forecast what changes will occur in county government over the next four years. However, one fact should be noted, there is a new majority on the County Commissioner Board. Local political pundits are predicting the new commissioner board will be more conservative and cautious in its approach to issues facing the local government.


With the slowdown in the economy and the deficit at the state level, there will be less revenue for the county to carry out its responsibilities. With these realities, the commissioners are facing numerous challenges which will require tough choices and possibly new priorities.

We believe that the first priority for the new commissioners is to commit themselves to working as a team in an atmosphere that will allow them to listen and learn, to dialogue with their colleagues, build a consensus and reach decisions that are in the best interest of the citizens of Washington County.

Basically, we are suggesting/urging the new commissioners to put aside their personal agendas and approach each issue with an open mind.

The new commissioners need to build on what was accomplished in the recent past. Notable progress was made in the last four years in public education, paying down the county debt, holding the line on the property tax rate, initiating steps to improve public safety and economic development and acknowledging the urgency to manage county growth and development.

We believe the new commissioners face an unfinished agenda that needs immediate attention. Whether it is economic development, managing county growth and development, bonded indebtedness, a drop off in tax revenue, funding public education or improving public safety, these issues represent the priorities for the county.

The Retired School Administrators recommend that the County Commissioners prepare themselves for their new responsibilities by committing adequate time and attention to a thorough orientation by the county executive and the administrative heads of the various county departments. Hopefully this will allow the commissioners to acquire sufficient knowledge and background to study the issues, ask the right questions and make informed decisions.

Finally, we wish the commissioners success in carrying out their responsibilities. We urge them to be accessible and accountable to the public. We hope they will plan to provide opportunities for public input.

Dan McElrath and Gerald Holmes

Washington County

Retired School Administratorsb>

James can't admit he was wrong

To the editor:

Kudos to Publisher John League for his wonderful Nov. 24 column, "Evaluating our election endorsements," which ever so subtly puts to rest the lie to the Nov. 23 letter to the editor by Edward James, "Voters reject paper, socialist candidates."

What bugs me is that I, too, have been reading The Herald-Mail with great interest since the election results were announced, waiting for an apology from James for his outrageous allegation some weeks ago that the editors would endorse Kathleen Kenneth Townsend for governor, and his presumptuous attack on these same editors for something that never occurred.

When The Herald-Mail endorsed candidate Ehrlich, I waited with bated breath for a mea culpa. I just knew that as strongly as Edward James promotes truth, and attacks anything he perceives to be an untruth, he would be a gentleman and concede the error of his ways.

Nope - too much to ask. Instead we just read more personal attacks. So please, do us a favor and ask whether he would ever consider giving The Herald-Mail any positive credit. After all, The Herald-Mail endorsement of Governor-elect Ehrlich was so superbly written it was even quoted in an Associated Press report printed in the Cecil Whig.

Since Herald-Mail editorial endorsements carry such weight that they influence the editors of other newspapers around the state, we can surely give genuine credit to our newspaper.

Douglas Scott Arey

MCIH No. 130196 A-1-A-20


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