Jan Gardner on her board’s budget achievements

Frederick News Post
Jan Gardner
09/26/2013
Citizens deserve the facts. A recent letter to the editor by the Young Board of County Commissioners (absent Commissioner David Gray) provided inaccurate information about the county budget. The Gardner board managed the county budget responsibly, controlled spending and earned the first AAA bond rating for Frederick County. By contrast, the Young board has increased spending, raised taxes and redirected significant taxpayer dollars to subsidize new development projects while cutting services to the community’s neediest residents. These are the facts: Fact: Over the four years of the Gardner board, the budget grew from $436.7 million to $438.3 million, an increase of $1.6 million. Over only the first three years of the Young board, the budget grew from $438.3 million to $516.3 million, an increase of $78 million. If the fire tax budgets are separated out, over three years, the Young board increased the budget from $438.3 million to $474.1 million, an increase of $35.8 million. Fact: The Young board raised taxes when the fire tax districts were shifted into the operating budget.

Jan Gardner on her board's budget achievements

Frederick News Post
Jan Gardner
09/26/2013
Citizens deserve the facts. A recent letter to the editor by the Young Board of County Commissioners (absent Commissioner David Gray) provided inaccurate information about the county budget. The Gardner board managed the county budget responsibly, controlled spending and earned the first AAA bond rating for Frederick County. By contrast, the Young board has increased spending, raised taxes and redirected significant taxpayer dollars to subsidize new development projects while cutting services to the community’s neediest residents. These are the facts: Fact: Over the four years of the Gardner board, the budget grew from $436.7 million to $438.3 million, an increase of $1.6 million. Over only the first three years of the Young board, the budget grew from $438.3 million to $516.3 million, an increase of $78 million. If the fire tax budgets are separated out, over three years, the Young board increased the budget from $438.3 million to $474.1 million, an increase of $35.8 million. Fact: The Young board raised taxes when the fire tax districts were shifted into the operating budget.

Head Start not in a better place

Frederick News Post
Shannon Aleshire
07/28/2013
The editorial in the Sunday, July 14 edition of the Frederick News-Post reflects on the end of the county’s privatization and used the “spin-free” example of the Head Start program. The editorial states that the Head Start program covers the same number of children in a reliable operation without county funding. This is true. The YMCA is federally mandated to serve the same number of children with the funds they receive. The question is: Does our community want to use the number of children served as the singular measure of success for a critically important early childhood program? If we used the same type of thinking for our pubic schools then we would say they served the same number of children as last year, therefore, they must be successful. Instead, I would suggest that the community look a little deeper. The early childhood community applauds the YMCA for stepping up to take on this valuable program. It is unrealistic to think that a program receiving $2 million less in financial support can offer the same programming and produce the same results.

Supports the boycotts

Frederick News Post
Bob Lewis
07/17/2013
In a recent editorial, “Calls for local boycotts ill-advised,” attempts to apply economic pressure to the Frederick County Commissioners and their supporters are criticized. The editorial implies that voters should not be upset because these commissioners were “candid about their political philosophy and how they planned to proceed if elected.” They were not candid about how they would proceed. Had they been open about their plans to privatize the county workforce, sell Montevue, cut county support to Head Start and attempt to loosen ethics rules, they would have never been elected. The editorial states that some boycotts would be reasonable such as those conducted during the civil rights campaigns in the 1960s — “When the political establishment and powers that be are resolutely unresponsive to reasonable change, a boycott may be justified and necessary.” I believe that is exactly the situation we face in Frederick County. On issue after issue citizens have organized, demonstrated, and given solid, reasoned presentations, and they have been ignored, disrespected and abused by this board.

With privatization's end comes a time to reflect, explain

Frederick News Post
07/14/2013
Saying there's nothing more to privatize, Commissioners President Blaine Young called it a day in a optimistically toned July 8 letter to county staff, lauding a streamlined, much-less-costly, much-less-populated county government. The controversial and unfortunate decision to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation and Montevue Assisted Living "will be the last major change this Board will make," he wrote. Since 2009, the county workforce has been reduced by 25 percent -- one in every four staff -- through "layoffs, eliminating vacant positions and consolidating County divisions and departments and privatizing services." "I realize all the changes have been difficult," Young wrote. That doesn't really capture it.

With privatization’s end comes a time to reflect, explain

Frederick News Post
07/14/2013
Saying there's nothing more to privatize, Commissioners President Blaine Young called it a day in a optimistically toned July 8 letter to county staff, lauding a streamlined, much-less-costly, much-less-populated county government. The controversial and unfortunate decision to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation and Montevue Assisted Living "will be the last major change this Board will make," he wrote. Since 2009, the county workforce has been reduced by 25 percent -- one in every four staff -- through "layoffs, eliminating vacant positions and consolidating County divisions and departments and privatizing services." "I realize all the changes have been difficult," Young wrote. That doesn't really capture it.

Frederick County commissioners done with large-scale privatization, Young says

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/09/2013
The era of wholesale privatization in county government is coming to a close, and the surviving three quarters of the county workforce can breathe a sigh of relief, according to Commissioners President Blaine Young. Young sent a letter to Frederick County employees Monday thanking them for their understanding during the roughly two years that commissioners have looked at shrinking and streamlining government. The recent decision to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living puts the county on course to lose 181 more workers, with facility staff expected to become employees of the buyer, Aurora Health Management. However, the sale of Citizens and Montevue represents the last major privatization effort the current Board of County Commissioners aims to undertake, Young wrote in the letter.

Honesty, deceit and Chicken Little

Frederick News Post
John Helms
04/08/2012
Commissioner Blaine Young and his allies began their terms talking about the structural deficit. They said things were so bad that they were forced to cut expenses including firing or eliminating staff. Over 175 positions including professional firefighters were ripped from the base of those providing needed services, cutting $8.4 million. They crippled the Head Start program to the tune of $2.3 million. They reduced payments to nonprofit and noncounty agencies by $350,000 and they reduced pay and benefits for employees (including nurses) at the Citizens and Montevue centers to the tune of $625,000 per year. The sky is falling, watch out for the structural deficit! When they thought we weren't looking, they danced with the ones that brung 'em to the dance (good ol' boy language for the Frederick Chamber of Commerce and the Frederick County Builders Association). They dropped the excise tax rate to zero, saving the developers an estimated $925,000 a year. They reduced permitting fees paid by builders by approximately $500,000 per year. In addition they went right to work on a list of over 200 changes given to them by the builders and developers to fix rules and regulations they didn't like or that cost them too much money. Some warned what was happening.

Frederick County commissioner: Budget process is ‘phony’

Structural deficit no longer a hot topic; Young says it’s still a big deal
Gazette
Katherine Heerbrandt
04/05/2012
“The structural deficit was made up to justify firings and anything else Blaine wanted to do,” he said. “… It was phony. I don’t know if it is ignorance or on purpose, but it served the purpose of scaring people.”

Frederick commissioners look at eliminating county grant-funded programs

Head Start was the first to go, more possibly to follow
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
07/07/2011
Head Start will likely not be the only grant-funded program to get axed by Frederick County commissioners to reduce the size of government. Commissioners are looking at all programs funded by federal and state grants in which the county provides a matching share of money. In the case of Head Start, the federal government put in $2.1 million and the county another $2.3 million, a funding match it was not required to make to keep the program running.

Debate on Head Start has lost sight

Gazette
Bob Rosensteel
02/24/2011
Far too much attention is being focused on whether Frederick County Commissioners C. Paul Smith and Kirby Delauter said that a woman's place is in the home. Ideally, yes, but not realistic. We are losing sight of the broader implications of what they said in the context of the Head Start program. Their comments were offered after the parents told how they needed the program and begged for it not to be cut.