Don’t look now, but the critics are out again.
I was looking through social media and my friend Jackie Wellfonder linked to this Daily Times article from writer Phil Davis. While he correctly notes that the Wicomico County Republican Party appointed two new members to the board, there was less emphasis on the third member added back to the body as Democrat Donald Fitzgerald was reappointed. The GOP didn’t have that option because one of the three vacant seats was that of Larry Dodd, who was elected to County Council and resigned his post mid-term, another was ceded by the Democrats upon the election of Larry Hogan, and the third turned out to be a reappointment of Fitzgerald.
But some forgot that elections do matter. “Tea Party Governor appoints Tea Party person that was hand picked by Tea Party County Executive. I think that about sums it up,” said local Democratic activist Chuck Cook.
“Democrats don’t appoint Tea Party people who want to destroy education,” he added later.
Naturally I had to respond:
You say TEA Party like it’s a bad thing. The Central Committee was looking for people who would bring accountability and discipline to the board.
I suppose not giving the teachers everything they want and then some is considered to be hating kids. How about “money follows the child” and call it a day?
As I have noted on numerous occasions, though, my preference would be for actual voters to determine who sits on the school board. That was an angle another observer had when she learned who was appointed:
I would like to thank our local Republicans for convincing me that maybe an elected School Board is the way to go. The latest appointment has me thinking they obviously aren’t up to the task.
We’ll take ’em by hook or by crook.
Since Joe Ollinger is a known quantity who ran for County Executive in 2010, I’m going out on a limb and guessing the objections center around John Palmer, who has been a longtime advocate for fiscal accountability in the county.
But seriously, if you consider the problem to be the people who want to make the Wicomico County Board of Education become leaner and more accountable for the $190 million of our tax dollars (federal, state, and local) that they will spend in FY 2016 – well, I’m glad we send our child to a Christian school. Too bad I still have to pay some of the other freight, though.
And I have some news for the critics: guess who gets to make the next two appointments? Why, it’s the Wicomico County Republican Party you know and love!
Now. they will have the option of re-appointing the two Republicans already on the board (Carolyn Elmore and Kim Hudson) but something tells me a lot of the sentiment toward granting them another term will come from seeing just how well they work and play with the two new Republicans on the WCBOE. Remember, there’s nothing that says that once appointed a member is automatically re-appointed, and it bears noting that the local Republicans played a much smaller role in the process when Elmore and Hudson were appointed – in fact, I seem to recall that the local Democrats wanted the Republican aspirants to interview with them because they controlled the process at the time. Imagine the caterwauling the GOP would have received in the local media if we played that card with the Democrats’ seat, with Chuck Cook screaming the loudest.
I don’t know if either Elmore or Hudson went to speak with the Democrats, but the WCRCC did not interview Kim Hudson. She submitted her name separately when the vacancy she filled came up – Hudson is finishing an unexpired term brought about by the 2012 resignation of Michelle Wright.
(This is the great thing about being the WCRCC secretary – I have the minutes of the meetings. We interviewed six great people for the Wright opening and Hudson was not one of them.)
So there will be some interesting times over the next year insofar as the Wicomico County Board of Education goes. I am very sure the most recent appointees will be the subject of some testimony whenever the county gets around to scheduling its hearings regarding an elected school board, which was on their agenda Tuesday. Just remember: the ones who are complaining about the “TEA Party” choices are among those who thwarted the idea of an elected school board for the better part of a decade.