Del. Donoghue should accept Shank's apology

February 05, 2008

Last week, Republican Del. Christopher Shank said he would like to "bury the hatchet" with Democratic Del. John Donoghue, his one-time mentor in local politics.

Whether Donoghue believes this peace offering is sincere or just Shank's reaction to pressure from the public or other elected officials, we recommend he treat it as genuine, unless or until Shank does something to indicate it isn't.

According to Del. Robert McKee, R-Washington, Donoghue is upset because - among other things - Shank supported Paul Muldowney's recent attempt to unseat him.

That action was in sharp contrast to Donoghue's decision to stay neutral in Shank's race against Democratic Del. Bruce Poole. And though they were members of different parties, Donoghue also helped Shank obtain legislative scholarship money.


But for Donoghue to hold on to a grudge would impair his ability to serve the citizens of Washington County.

If, for example, he keeps his promise to skip official delegation meetings, citizens who have traveled to Annapolis to meet lawmakers would either not see Donoghue or else would have to schedule a separate session with him.

No, it's in the best interests of the county's residents for delegation members to work together, for several reasons, including:

· No lawmaker can be at every committee meeting of the General Assembly. If Donoghue isolates himself, he won't hear what other members have discovered about bills that could affect his own district.

· Even before this flap, Donoghue wasn't a big fan of attending meetings that were strictly ceremonial. If his fellow members can take up the slack in that area, he could agree to do the heavy lifting on the legislative side.

· Skipping meetings at which important local matters are discussed wasn't what Donoghue promised when he was campaigning.

In October 2006, Donoghue and his opponent were asked about what leadership meant to them. Donoghue had this to say:

"In Annapolis, it's the ability to work with others. It's called compromise. You can't just push people around and force your views on them."

Fine words from a man who knows very well that working with others for the benefit of citizens sometimes means working with people you'd rather not.

It's time for Donoghue to accept Shank's olive branch. (It wouldn't hurt if Shank offered it in a face-to-face meeting)

It's also time for both lawmakers to remember the people whom they were elected to serve.

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