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Letters to the editor

August 11, 2003

Let the hospital move


To the editor:

Does the Mayor of Hagerstown have nothing better to do than waste the taxpayers' money by hiring attorneys to keep the hospital from moving? Doesn't he see the benefits of having a new hospital on a beautiful site at Robinwood?

Moving the hospital to Robinwood will not eliminate 2,000 "city" jobs. It will, however, help our local economy. The jobs will still be at the hospital. I don't recall ever being paid by the city when I worked at the hospital.

My paycheck read "Washington County Hospital Association." The hospital has promised to keep services in the area to meet the needs of the "city" just as they have all over the county. Those that wish can use our local County Commuter to reach Robinwood, helping to keep it in business.

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What is your problem, Mr. Mayor? Don't you realize what an excellent healthcare system we have in this county? Did you not ever learn that two objects cannot occupy the same space? The hospital is landlocked. How do you propose to build a new hospital on the same site as our existing hospital? I can't wait to see. Every year we have many new professionals being interviewed for positions in the healthcare field.

Who wouldn't want to come work in a beautiful new facility? Mr. Mayor, don't slow progress by crying the blues. Get over it and help the community with much-needed progress. It is positions like yours that can make a difference for a growing community or lack thereof. You and your council are stifling progress and it is a waste of precious time and money.

Debra Reyes
Hagerstown




Police need a contract


To the editor:

The leaders of our Neighborhood Watch have decided that we should write something for the general consideration of the community about the Community Rescue Service fund drive, and also the police and their ongoing struggle to wrest a contract from the city.

First of all, we want to be sure that our fellow citizens realize that for the subscription sum of $35 they not only would receive any necessary services from CRS without further charge, but that there would be reciprocity with any other rescue group in Washington County; none of them would ask for further payment either.

Also, the subscription to our local CRS would be a good "talking point" for asking for a "discount" from any rescue group outside our county, should such a need for service arise. Surely this is an excellent insurance buy!

Second, we feel compelled, as a watch sponsored by the Hagerstown Police Department, to point out that not being able to secure a contract after more than two years is a devastating blow to the morale of our officers. It says that we as a community do not care about them or appreciate what they put on the line everytime they step out the door to go to work.

The problems caused by the lack of a contract go far beyond having far less take-home pay than they have had for a number of years. The problems include not being able to recruit from our home area because of the turmoil caused by the controversy and morale problems. We want officers who consider this area they serve to be their home and themselves to be respected citizens doing a valued job.

Otherwise we are just running an excellent training facility, giving a continuing array of new officers experience and good backgrounds, at great expense to ourselves, only to have them hired away from us by the sheriff from Frederick County on a regular basis.

Or to go into various other lucrative positions such as the new federal air marshal program. Yet, of the last two dozen or so officers hired, only one is from Washington County. Trying to compel potential hires to sign a long-term personal contract, especially with no general contract for more than two years, would dry up the recruitment pool entirely.

And we do want to recruit good people who will stay with us. It takes years to put a good experienced officer out on the street doing a job they cares about for their hometown. It takes years of training.

It also takes years of interacting with fellow citizens. Years of receiving at least a modicum of moral support from those citizens by way of contracts signed in an orderly, timely, businesslike fashion. Years of getting enough money to support themselves without having to look for a second job, or, the worst outcome of all, for our expensive training and the basic welfare of our city, getting another job altogether.

Mary W. Haines
Valencia Neighborhood Watch
Hagerstown

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