Cumberland Times-News

Letters

May 9, 2013

Partnership needed to deal with fiscal problems

In response to the “Open Letter to the Citizens of Garrett County” from the Garrett County Board of Education (“Garrett board of education warns of bleak times ahead,” May 8 Times-News, Page 1A):

Broadly viewed, the letter serves as a “call-to-action.” First and foremost, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously and wholeheartedly supports this call.

More specifically, the letter describes the eroded fiscal environment that the Garrett County public school system has recently faced, as well as the likely continuation of this fiscal erosion given current economic conditions.

It further, and rightly, describes the strain such conditions will present to our public schools, our instructional, educational, and support professionals, our current and future student bodies, the communities that have a public school as a cornerstone, and the competitive position of our business development environment.

While the specifics of these conditions, their causes, accelerants, and mitigants, can and should be debated, they do indeed call us all to action.

Finally, the letter contains two explicit requests to the commissioners:

1. To meet with the Board of Education in public session

2. To provide budgetary commitments for “2015 and beyond.”

On April 16, 2013, I responded to the elected members of the board of education affirming that the board of county commissioners appreciates their invitation to meet and discuss the “Future of the garrett county public school system.”

In that correspondence I stated that planning for future year funding/budgets is now more significant than at any time in the past. county government has for some time reviewed current budgets along with five impending years, and this practice has proven to be a wise judgment which is evident when comparing actual/final budgets to initial budget estimates.

County government and the board of county commissioners have made public education a priority for many years.

Now more than ever open dialog and cooperation, to include the participation of the county administrator, superintendent of schools, and senior staff from both our organizations, is imperative.

To address these requests, I respectfully and humbly issue my own call to you and the elected members of the board of education.

This is a call-to-partnership. The fiscal strains that we must address are both economic and demographic. I would endorse the following:

1. The charter and formation of a multidisciplinary advisory board with members from the county departments of financial services and economic development, Garrett College administrative staff, Garrett County public school system administrative staff, you, and me.

2. The task of this advisory board would be to develop a range of specific proposals for addressing the fiscal strain on the Garrett County public school system and the economic predictions for Garrett County government over the short and long-term.

3. Our respective boards should be updated during our administrative review. The combined evaluation and finalization of these proposals by the board of county commissioners and the board of education will be presented in public forum to allow for public commentary and a definitive plan for immediate implementation.

The board of county commissioners, departments of financial services and economic development management, and I support financial planning and believe these requests can be best addressed only after all parties have conducted the work necessary to present solutions that we are prepared to stand behind and execute collectively.

I am convinced that extended open-ended and potentially divisive public debate on these issues will ultimately serve no productive end.

Finally, I ask for your partnership and offer my pledge to be open and forthright. I would ask for this in return. I believe our mutual accountability to address these issues will serve as a powerful motivator for the open, transparent, and creative dialog that will be required to solve them.

R. Lamont Pagenhardt

Garrett County administrator

 

1
Text Only
Letters
  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.

    Our legislators in Washington must stop playing politics with our veterans, this is  especially true of Vietnam war veterans. Will the game playing carry over to our veterans of present day wars? Will they too become pawns? Veterans have few friends in Washington. Just like the Vietnam veterans, today’s veterans will face
    what we are up against, little to no support.

    April 13, 2014

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting

    Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.

    April 10, 2014

  • New policies will grow better streamside buffers

    Well-functioning forest buffers along streams are perhaps the most effective and least costly best management practice we have to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

    April 10, 2014

  • City has changed, but it’s still a great place

    Is it better to be positive or negative? I have been reading postings about Growing Up in Cumberland, other Facebook pages, and from many of my Facebook friends. Talk about food and many people have positive comments. I love Coney Island hot dogs as much as anyone and have some every time I am in Cumberland.

    April 9, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads