Herald-Mail Forums

October 02, 2006

This week's question:

The Greater Hagerstown Committee held a forum last week to encourage improvements to Washington County's road system. What is the most needed highway project in Washington County today?

To respond:

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Last week's question:

Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop has announced he will retire in early 2007. Should the commissioners bring in a new administrator from outside, or choose someone who is in the county system now?

Your responses:

Outside. Get someone with a fresh perspective.

Having a pretty good knowledge of who in the county system would be qualified, I can only think of one. This person would be employee friendly, which should be a consideration and would be an improvement.


Hire some from the county system.

I think that would depend on not only who wants the job for the job and not for the salary. Yes, money is nice, but whomever the County Commissioners decide to hire (or promote, as the case may be), should be put there because they have a desire to do the job and make a positive impact doing the job. If it's just for the money, then I believe a better candidate can be found - and should be!

Why should the position of county administrator be treated any differently than the position of County Commissioner? The County Commissioners live in the county before they are elected and the county administrator should also live in the county before he/she is appointed. Whether or not that person comes from the county government is a moot point. Two excellent candidates are Elizabeth Morgan, superintendent of our "world-class" school system and B. Marie Byers, director of our money-making Discovery Station in Hagerstown. Either one of these potential candidates would make a big difference in the way our county government operates.

Let's not overlook another potential candidate, Dan Divito, who tried hard but failed to get the livability code to apply to owner-occupied homes in this county. If he had succeeded, he would have made a huge difference in the lives of tens of thousands of county residents and increased the size and importance of his own staff in the county government. He has demonstrated that he really cares about county residents and he is another excellent candidate for county administrator.

Being a former county employee for a good number of years in an area where I got to know all of the management personnel, I would say that there may only be one person internally with the qualifications and overall ability to perform this job. I would say the best bet would be to hire from the outside, but it has to be someone with a proven track record and previous public-sector experience at this level. The person chosen has to be better than just looking good on paper - they must demonstrate their ability to successfully work in an area undergoing incredible growth and other similar issues that this county is dealing with.

What is it with Washington County? While certainly understandable to prefer a home-grown government, how can we get fresh ideas and perspectives when we close the door to other possibilities? Maybe, just maybe, someone outside the county could have better ideas.

You're suggesting these Commissioners select a Candidate for Administrator? That's the equivalent of trying to put out fire with gasoline?

Choose someone from the outside who has a clear head and a fresh perspective.

Choose who is best qualified.

We need new blood to combat the cancer in the county.

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