LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Calvert County Board of Commissioners President Jerry Clark in recent statements to the press has stated that there will be no pay steps to County employees because of no money being available. This statement does not reveal the whole truth to the public.
Commissioner Clark stated in 2011 that he had a conservative budget. The Fraternal Order of Police has looked into this statement and has found the following examples of Commissioner Clark's conservative spending:
Commissioner Clark approved 10 new custom street signs and sign posts for Solomons Island. These custom made signs and posts cost in excess of $400 each. Total cost to the tax payers of Calvert County was around $4,000. The Fraternal Order of Police has also found out that Calvert County Highway Maintenance makes all of the street signs for Calvert County at a cost of approximately $15. Commissioner Clark had the Solomons Island street signs custom made by a private company. The $4,000 cost was before the labor costs. The signs were installed by Calvert County Employees. This was probably the only conservative spending part of the project because the employees did the labor at a reduced rate due to the fact they havent received any steps for several years. As the Fraternal Order of Police President my question is, when do the rest of the citizens and county employees get these custom street signs on their street? Every citizen in Calvert County paid for these signs, not Commissioner Clark.
A second example of Commissioner Clarks conservative spending would be the traffic circle at the very end of Solomons Island. Although this is very easy on the eye, it is at a dead-end road where to my knowledge there has never been a traffic issue. This was conservative spending in 2009 at a cost in excess of $500,000 to the taxpayers of Calvert County.
Next is the soon-to-be newly renovated grocery store slated to become the southern branch of the Calvert County Library that Commissioner Clark has pushed. As we the taxpayers spend millions of dollars on the renovation for the Solomons library, the citizens should also know that the County will be renting the facility at a cost of $90,000 a year. Why not put the library in the Patuxent Business Park that has been empty for years, which the County owns. Just think, a library in the PBP would be closer to where the majority of the citizens live to enjoy and we the tax payers would not have to pay rent.
Last, but not least, is the new park on Dowell Road. I am sure that this was not cheap, and I am also confident that County employees assisted in building it. Based on past and future projects, it appears that one Commissioner is calling the shots. Where do the County Employees and the rest of the Town Centers in Calvert County fit into Commissioner Clarks master plan?
All this conservative spending approved by Commissioner Clark to dress up the Solomons area makes one wonder why so much spent in Solomons? Is it the fact that Commissioner Clark owns a business in Solomons and is a member of the Solomons Business Association? If so, is this not a conflict of interest and/or an ethics violation?
The county commissioners say they have no money to give the hard working employees of the Sheriffs Office, Calvert County Detention Center, County Government and the Board of Education pay steps. Maybe prior to dressing up Solomons some consideration should have been given to following county code and giving county employees merit steps they have earned and that are owed to them. If the Commissioners are truly being conservative then the Fraternal Order of Police has no complaint, however we as a County are not getting what we need, but Commissioner Clark is getting what he wants.
Thomas Phelps, President
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 109
P.O. Box 851
Prince Frederick, MD 20678