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Letters to the Editor

May 08, 2008

Deal is too sweet for public employees



To the editor:

On April 29, the Washington County Commissioners proclaimed the month of May as "Older Americans Month" - I'll come back to that later. In the document titled: "Financial Update Fiscal Year 2008 - For the period ended December 2007," the fourth paragraph on page 3 states: "Washington County has five elected commissioners that govern the county. In addition to the taxpayers, the commissioners directly oversee the County Administrator, County Clerk, and the Director of Budget and Finance."

I can reword the second sentence for clarity to read: "The commissioners directly oversee the county administrator, county clerk, the director of budget and finance, and the taxpayers."

Imagine that, a public document that clearly indicates that the commissioners directly oversee the taxpayers. And all my life, I thought the commissioners were public servants, not public overseers. In this county a large number of older Americans receive Social Security.

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The Social Security raise this year was 2.3 percent with no step increases. This proposed county budget gives an average 5.43 percent pay increase to about 800 county employees and an unspecified average pay raise that far exceeds 2.3 percent to all the public school teachers.

Several days ago I asked Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan, Chris South and the commissioners what the average pay raise for the public school teachers would be, but I never received the information I asked for. For many years, the average pay raises, including step increases, for public employees in this county have far exceeded not only the Social Security increases but also the average pay increases for employees outside the county government.

If this practice continues, the wealthiest group of people in this county will soon be the public employees. If the commissioners want to do something positive for all the older Americans in this county, they could lower the property tax rate.

If the commissioners need to reduce spending to balance the budget because they decide to lower the property tax rate, they could lower the average pay raises they are preparing to give to the county's public employees. The lavish pay raises for public employees is not the only problem that I have with next year's proposed budget, but it may be the issue that is the easiest to understand and correct.

Daniel Moeller
Rohrersville




I'll work hard for Smithsburg



To the editor:

My name is Debbie Mooney and I am running for Smithsburg Town Council. I have been a resident of Smithsburg for nine years now. I am married to a United Methodist pastor and have two sons (both grown), one who is now in the U.S. Army, and one who has served in the Marines. I am a nurse supervisor, a director of Christian education, and a youth leader.

I currently serve on CPACA (Citizens Police Advisory Committee) of Smithsburg and have also been active in planning such town events as "Smithsburg Pride Days," "Old Time Christmas" and in the memorial service held for officer Christopher Nicholoson. I would like to help preserve the small town atmosphere and friendliness we enjoy as well as dealing with the various issues a growing town such as Smithsburg faces.

The Smithsburg Town Council is an elected body working together for the community. As an elected official it would be my responsibility to hear the needs and concerns of our town's residents. I would have an obligation to do my very best in serving in our town's best interest.

I hope you will consider me to be a part of our town council on voting day, May 13.

Debbie Mooney
Smithsburg




Linn Hendershot will be missed



To the editor:

Like all who knew Linn Hendershot, I was saddened to learn of his passing. His was an amazing life and his dedication to the betterment of those who live in and beyond our community was truly awe-inspiring.

I was particularly appreciative of his unwavering support of people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Linn was an outspoken supporter of Potomac Center and its mission to serve some of Maryland's most challenging people who live with mental retardation.

His views were not perfectly conformed to the status quo of the disabilities establishment. But he always had a way of gently admonishing and instructing people to open their minds and hearts in order to see the best possible life for each individual with developmental disabilities. Linn Hendershot will continue to enrich the world through those who have been touched and inspired by his amazing life. Our community was blessed to have had him.

Guy Haines
Maryland Coalition of Advocates for the Retarded
Clear Spring

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