Jarboe Lone Dissenter in Zylak Hiring - Southern Maryland Headline News

Jarboe Lone Dissenter in Zylak Hiring

Has Jarboe, One of Two Republicans on the St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners, Become the Rebel Force?

By Adam Ross, The County Times

Has Jarboe, One of Two Republicans on the St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners, Become the Rebel Force? Somd.com File Photo.LEONARDTOWN, Md. - At times, with this Democratic Board of County Commissioners, the Republican from Golden Beach, Lawrence Jarboe (pictured at left), has found himself isolated from his constituents over new hires and appointments.

During Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Jarboe quietly stared into the corner while temporary County Administrator John Savich announced the hiring of former St. Mary’s County Sheriff David Zylak as public safety director.

When it came time for a motion, Jarboe, by his lonesome, voted against the hiring of Zylak, saying later “there was a better and more qualified candidate for the position.”

“[My vote] had nothing to do with Zylak or politics,” he added.

Zylak was not present for the announcement, but said in a telephone interview “whatever the reservations [Jarboe] may have had, I hope I can put those to rest when I get in and start doing the job.”

Ironically, Zylak is replacing Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron, who handily defeated him in November’s election.

“I have no problem working with Sheriff Cameron, elections are elections and then life goes on,” Zylak said.

Roughly thirty applications made the first cut, and were processed and scored by the human resources department, said Commissioner Thomas A. Mattingly Jr., (D-Leonardtown).

Of the 30, seven candidates were chosen to interview with an independent panel made up of Cameron, fire and rescue representatives, a representative from public safety in Charles County and human resource staff. The independent panel recommended four candidates to the county commissioners, Mattingly said. All four had an opportunity to further interview with the commissioners, but the names of the other three were not released.

“I think the process was fair, and not a political process,” Mattingly added. “Zylak did very well in his interviews in all levels, and that was the reason for the choice.”

On the other hand, Jarboe felt one candidate in particular had more relevant experience, specifically with “hands on communication.”

“Some might say you make your decisions on the list of qualifications, but you have to use your judgment,” Jarboe added. “In my opinion there was a better qualified candidate.”

Commissioner Daniel H. Raley (D- Great Mills) called the decision “fair” and asked Zylak to reach out to Sheriff Cameron to “have a dialog to enter into a relationship.”

“We commend everyone who took part in the process, this is a process, one person came to the forefront,” said Commission President Francis Jack Russell.

Tuesday’s vote marked the third time in the last few weeks Jarboe has fostered an opinion different from the majority.

After the announcement that former County Administrator George G. Forrest was leaving his post four months early for retirement, Jarboe revealed that the board had voted to remove Forrest, and he was the lone opposition. Mattingly and Russell repeatedly denied any such vote was made, and that Forrest entered into retirement with no pressure from the board.

However, Jan. 22, the same day the announcement and comments from Russell and Mattingly were made, the Board of County Commissioners entered into a separation agreement with Forrest to the tune of $58,106, after taxes.

Part of the agreement reads: “Mr. Forrest desires to retire from employment with the county, and he and the Board wish to end their association amicably and resolve any and all claims, differences or matters pertaining to, arise from, or associated with Mr. Forrest’s association and discontinuance with the board.”

However, according to Forrest’s contract, signed Jan. 10, 2006, the “resignation by employee” would only compensate wages through the “effective date of resignation,” which by contract terms should be no sooner than 60 calendar days.

“This payment shall constitute full and final settlement of the employee’s claims for compensation, benefits, or other demands against the employer.”

If the county had stuck to the contract it had with Forrest, and only compensated him for sixty days, it may have saved itself nearly $64,000 before taxes.

Mattingly said the board agreed to pay Forrest the remainder of his contract “based on his service to the county.”

“We thought it was a fair decision to make based on his service,” he added. “He had some remaining time, but he had provided good service.”

And although the taxpayers are ultimately the ones paying for the separation between Forrest and county, Mattingly felt it was “strictly a personnel matter,” and that the separation should have been crafted behind closed doors and off the public record.

On Jan. 24, Jarboe again found himself at odds with the board, when he and Commissioner Kenny Dement (RCallaway) opposed the appointment of several citizens to various boards and committees serving St. Mary’s government.

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