Senior citizens will suffer if county sells assisted-living center

Gazette
Diane Grove
03/28/2013
I am both outraged and saddened to hear that the residents at Montevue are being referred to as “a drain on taxpayers.” As a native of Frederick County, taxpayer, and a current Frederick County employee, I couldn’t disagree more! These seniors are members of our community who, at one point in their lives, were taxpayers themselves. These so-called “drains” have been our friends, neighbors, co-workers, mailmen, nurses, doctors, and caregivers (just to name a few). They are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. They have spent their lives working hard raising their families and being productive citizens of what I used to consider a warm, caring farming community, a community that took pride in itself for taking care of its own. What has happened to us?

Ramifications of selling Montevue will hit its poorest residents

Frederick News Post
Diane Grove
03/22/2013
I was dismayed to learn that the residents at the Montevue Assisted Living Facility are being referred to as “a drain on taxpayers.” As a Frederick County native, taxpayer and a Frederick County employee, I cannot disagree more. Those seniors are members of our community who at one point in their lives were taxpayers themselves. Those so-called “drains” have been our friends, neighbors, co-workers, mailmen, nurses, doctors and caregivers. They have raised families and been productive citizens of what I once considered a warm, caring farming community. What has happened to us? I refuse to believe our community would allow Montevue to be sold to the private sector. Montevue is part of our heritage. The land was sold to the county with the intent of helping the impoverished and for no other purpose. We should embrace this concept, not shy away from it. It is not true that the needs of the residents of Montevue will be met once sold to the private sector.

Frederick County to study use of private contractors to maintain park

Reorganization leaves five-person crew struggling to maintain historic park
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/01/2012
The Frederick Board of County Commissioners supports a plan to hire private contractors to maintain Rose Hill Manor Park in Frederick.

Frederick does not have a ‘massive structural deficit’

Gazette
Kathy Rossen
08/11/2011
Over and over I hear the Board of County Commissioners refer to Frederick County’s “massive structural deficit.” The reality, though, is that this is absolutely not true. We have heard many experts, including one of the county’s own accountants, explain that we do not have a structural deficit. In fact, county revenue and the newly adopted budget have increased by $11 million over last year. The county’s coveted AAA bond rating was just renewed, further proof that there is no deficit. Frederick could not achieve this rating if we were facing the dire financial situation that some of the commissioners continue to allege. This board has slashed human, social, and citizen services, telling us that our county can no longer afford to carry this burden. They have already cut the county workforce, laying off many longtime employees. They are now threatening to further reduce the county workforce through privatization. Yet they easily found $89,000 to create a new position for political ally Ron Tobin. They readily paid $25,000 to Oliver Porter for what turned out to be nothing more than a fill-in-the-blanks sales pitch. One of the largest increases in the budget went to the Sheriff’s Office, which received a whopping $2 million increase. This is not about tightening our belts because we are broke. This is redirecting our tax money to further an extreme political ideology.

Frederick County residents angry about privatization

Critics of plan rally again in support of county employees
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
07/27/2013
For a second time this week, Frederick County residents came out to support government employees who are at risk of losing their jobs to the private sector. Residents packed the first-floor hearing room of Winchester Hall, the seat of county government, Tuesday night and told the Frederick Board of County Commissioners that their proposal to outsource some government services to private companies will have dire consequences. Many predicted a dismal future for Frederick County if private companies take control of government services, such as road maintenance, snow removal, parks, electrical inspections and help for senior citizens.

Who benefits?

Frederick News Post
Kathy Rossen
06/29/2011
The privatization report delivered to the Frederick Board of County Commissioners from Georgia consultant PPP supposedly outlines how to save substantial money. However, the report does not include any examples of an existing government undertaking such a large privatization project. Only newly incorporated towns with no existing government services had attempted this before, with questionable results. Five cities contracted with PPP, which appears to be closely allied with CH2MHill, to provide new government services through private contracts. Most of those cities did not renew PPP contracts because of cost. The cities found that some, if not all, services could be provided cheaper in-house or elsewhere. This BoCC has continuously stated that they intend to run Frederick County as a business. While that sounds great on the surface, the reality is that government and business are fundamentally different. A business exists to make a profit, and government exists to serve its citizens.

Nonprofits to Frederick County: Take time privatizing

Ex-commissioner asks for 'thoughtful' tactics
Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
06/22/2011
Leaders from two area nonprofit organizations are calling for the Frederick County Commissioners to slow down on a proposal to privatize more than 500 county government jobs. In his report to the commissioners, Georgia consultant Oliver Porter last week recommended the board consider outsourcing core government services handled by about 500 of the county's more than 2,000 employees. Four public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for next month. On Tuesday, leaders from Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County, two local nonprofits, met at C. Burr Artz Public Library to discuss the proposal with Frederick County Commissioner David Gray. At a public hearing last week, the League of Women Voters also called for a slower process. Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County members suggested Porter's study should be reviewed by another consultant, or the county should consider establishing a pilot program of outsourcing only one department, instead of proceeding with Porter's plan of outsourcing all at once. "It's too big to rush into without a serious and thoughtful approach," said Kai Hagen, a former Frederick County commissioner who is now executive director of Envision Frederick County. He said the 27-page study contains little more detail than a brochure for Porter's business, PPP Associates, and described the report as a combination puff piece and sales pitch.