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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


August 25, 2006

What's Lennie For?

Roy Meachum

No politician in the past 20 years has more clearly established what he is against. John "Lennie" Thompson opposes growth. He considers all developers devils incarnate.

Not without exception.

Together with fellow Commissioner Jan Gardner he urges voters to elect again David Gray, although Mr. Gray is himself a developer. The former board president does not deny he subdivided and sold property to build new houses. He quibbles only over details that cannot be proved, either way, by him or his critics.

Both Winchester Hall incumbents obviously yearn for those happier times when Mr. Gray blindly took whatever bait they tossed in the political waters. He was Frederick's ultimate "cellophane man," invisible most of the time and rarely articulate on public issues. He consistently voted "me-too."

For whatever reason, David Gray's return to the Board of County Commissioners rates a "for" position from Mr. Thompson. Looking over voting in the past two years, it's hard to find anything else that he considers worthy.

He has provided, for example, the sole dissenting voice on a number of issues raised on behalf of Fire and Rescue Services. Fortunately county residents were saved by unanimity among the other commissioners present.

Back on June 24, 2004, the current board president denied a motion to reimburse Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Company No. 16; they wanted $20,000 for the purchase of a station emergency generator. Four commissioners thought the request was only fair; Mr. Thompson disagreed. Presumably he felt the volunteers could beg citizens for the money.

In preparing this year's budget, Commissioner John Lovell proposed Lewistown should receive ambulance service 12 hours a day, five days a week. In support, Mike Cady moved that 3.5 positions should be funded in FY06. Following Marie Antoinette's infamous "let them eat cake," Mr. Thompson voted to leave the community on its own, to scratch up ambulance service as best it could.

The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) wanted exemption from the county's permit and excise fees. By way of exchange, the northern county medics suggested their old building revert to Winchester Hall once the new facility was operational. For only the part directly related to its professional services, not social events, they asked for relief to the tune of $30,000. EVAC had little trouble corralling votes for the motion from the other four board members. Mr. Thompson dug in his heels once more.

Over to law enforcement in Frederick County: Mr. Thompson took his usual negative turn on the matter of providing an additional crossing guard for Centerville Elementary School. These are for the most part kids, mind you, not teens. The board president obviously felt they didn't deserve the part-time protection proposed by Sheriff Jim Hagy. He voted "agin." Fortunately, the rest of the commissioners cared. They also backed the planned addition to the sheriff's support staff. They agreed eight more deputies were necessary to meet the county's demands.

While Mrs. Gardner has come out in opposition to Mr. Cady's re-election; she must be somehow thankful he was around on a number of her motions to help county schools.

As recently as June 13, she asked for $4.419 million for the Linganore High School renovation project; Mr. Cady seconded. She wanted the money set aside from FY 2009 impact fees, not without conditions. The funds would be identified in the county's Capital Improvement Project but not spent until the Board of Education reached agreement with Land Stewards. Mr. Thompson still bucked the majority by denying the motion to help the school he graduated from.

Commissioner Gardner, on May 16, moved to use the necessary funds out of increased impact fees (paid by developers) to move up Brunswick High's modernization to FY 2009. Mr. Cady again seconded. Mr. Thompson once again said no way: he voted against. All of his other colleagues present favored the idea.

Presumably, based on his past comments, Lennie Thompson views attempts to improve county schools as benefiting solely "devil" developers. (That's what he said straight out when the city and the county signed an agreement to move into the local system water from the Potomac River. Once more he cast the single negative vote, crying "A victory for developers.")

In fact, the human beings directly affected in attempts to improve schools are students and the teachers trying very hard, under adverse conditions, to prepare them for life. These are no future residents but young men, young women and their mentors very much present now. That's a reality that must be dealt with.

Besides, it's nearly impossible to apply his argument to the Board of Education's request for one-time $96,000 to be spent for 32 Automatic External Defibrillators going into nine high schools. And they're on their way because - in a switch - Mr. Cady proposed and Mrs. Gardner seconded.

Two other commissioners present (Mr. Lovell and Bruce Reeder) understood the need to help youngsters afflicted by cardiac arrest; nationally, some 7,000 to 10,000 high school students, usually athletes, every year face the crisis. Showing that he patently doesn't care, Mr. Thompson voted against.

On civics issues the board president turned down a resolution to support the efforts of Advocates for Homeless Families. Ditto for staff recommendations for creating a CIP budget for developer-proffered funding and removing those items from the general CIP. Likewise, Democrat Gardner's request for approval of a letter of thanks to be sent to the GOP governor for the Rural Legacy Funds received by the county; Mr. Thompson is registered Republican.

He also turned thumbs down on proposed support for St. John's Lutheran Church's application for a state Historic Trust capital grant to restore the 1834 brick church building. He reacted the same way to Thurmont's asking for a letter endorsing the town's capital trust request for funds to restore Thurmont Trolley Car #5.

None of these involved a single penny from the county treasury. Lennie Thompson still tried to defeat them all. They all went through because his fellow commissioners voted unanimously for approval. And so it goes.

But judge for yourself: Here is the list of dates and issues (by category) when Mr. Thompson practiced obstructionist tactics while failing to take a position in favor of anything.

Lennie's votes:

SCHOOLS

June 13, 2006 - Discussion Regarding Letters Received about the BOCC Proposed APFO Amendments and the Land Stewards/County Funding of the Linganore High School Renovation/Modernization Project - Commissioner Gardner opened a discussion of a letter sent by the BOE to the BOCC regarding moving forward the renovation of Linganore High School in the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget.

Commissioner Gardner moved that the BOCC set aside $4.419 million from impact fee revenue in FY 2009 of the CIP for the Linganore High School renovation project. The funds would be identified for that project in the CIP pending the resolution of the BOE's agreement with Land Stewards. Commissioner Cady seconded the motion that passed 3-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed. (Reeder absent)

May 23, 2006 - Commissioner Cady moved that $96,000 one-time funds be allocated to the BOE to be used for 32 Automatic External Defibrillators for nine high schools. Commissioner Gardner seconded the motion that passed, 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

May 16, 2006 - Commissioner Gardner moved to use the necessary funds out of the increased impact fees to move up the design of Brunswick High School modernization to FY 2009. Commissioner Cady seconded the motion that passed with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Gardner moved to increase the funding for the BOE by $1 million. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Reeder moved to fund the Head Start program's position for a program assistant and increase work hours for administrative specialist position. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Cady moved to increase the funding to the BOE for $400,000 for textbooks. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

December 22, 2005 - Request for Additional School Crossing Guard Position - The Sheriff's Office requested an additional school crossing guard for Centerville Elementary School in the FY 2006. The motion was passed, 4-1, with Thompson opposed.

November 22, 2005 - Urbana High School Athletic Boosters Club Request for Interest Free Loan - A representative from Accounting presented a request for the Boards' approval of a loan for $100,000 to construct a press box and expand the concession stand at Urbana High School. Staff recommended approval, with the first installment due and payable by January 1, 2007. The motion passed 3-1, with Thompson opposed (Reeder absent).

July 21, 2005 - After School Programs for Middle School Youth - A representative from Purchasing presented staff's recommendation to award the bid to Frederick County Family YCMA for 3 schools (Brunswick, Ballenger Creek & TJ Middle Schools), in the amount of $148,226 and the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County for two schools, Crestwood and West Frederick Middle School, in the estimated amount of $98,817. The motion was approved 4-1, with Thompson opposed.

June 2, 2005 - Additional FY 2006 Funding for BOE - The need was for $500,000. A motion was put forth to use $300,000 from the Bond Enhancement Fund in the County's budget and $200,000 from the amount earmarked from computers in the BOE budget. The vote was 4-1, with Thompson opposed

March 17, 2005 - BOE School Construction Amendments - Cady moved to approve BOE School Construction Amendment & budget transfer as presented. Thompson moved to amend the motion to specify that the Town of Middletown would have their funds from the Tax Equity Program diverted until the sum of $1.2 million was recouped by the County from the Town. The motion failed 1-4 with Cady, Lovell, Gardner & Reeder opposed. The vote to approve the amendment and transfer passed, 4-1 with Thompson opposed

February 22, 2005 - Discuss of BOE Consolidation of Central Offices - A discussion was opened regarding the Board allowing the BOE to retain the proceeds from the sale of properties currently used by the BOE or the assessed value of buildings if retained by the County when the buildings were vacated by the BOE. The BOE intends to use the proceeds toward the building of the consolidated office building in the City of Frederick. Cady moved to allow the BOE to include the proceeds of sale of the properties or an equivalent value for the buildings if the Board decided not to sell either or both sites. The motion passed, 4-1 with Thompson opposed.

June 24, 2004 - A representative from the Accounting Dept. presented a request to delay the first loan payment from July 1, 2004 to January 1, 2005 for the Middletown High School Sports Booster Club, Inc with the final loan payment due January 1, 2009. No loan proceeds had been disbursed to date, making the repayment mute. A motion was made to approve. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

A motion was made to approve the FY 2005 BOE Capital Budget for forward funding of the Centerville Elementary, Middletown Primary and Urbana Middle Schools. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

A motion was made to approve the FY 2005 Frederick County Public Schools General Fund Budget, along with the Printing, Food Service, and Self-Insurance Fund Budgets, with the condition that a Budget Transfer would be completed within the Self-Insurance Fund Budget to move $500,000 from the General Fund Contribution Revenue column to the BOCC Deficit Reduction Contribution column. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

A representative from Head Start presented a request for Board approval of a State Supplemental Head Start Grant application and approval of the budget transfers to accommodate any grant funding received as a result of the application. A motion was made to approve. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

CIVIC

June 15, 2006 - Resolution in Support of Advocates for Homeless Families, Inc. -Mr. Galaida presented a resolution that supported the efforts of the Advocates for Homeless Families, Inc and requested the Boards' approval.

Commissioner Gardner moved to approve the resolution as presented with an effective date of June 15, 2006. Commissioner Reeder seconded the motion that passed, 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

May 16, 2006 - Commissioner Gardner moved to request that staff make a recommendation regarding the pros and cons of creating a CIP budget for developer-proffered funding and remove those items from the existing CIP. Commissioner Cady seconded the motion that passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Gardner moved to fund 50% of the Safe and Stable Families Grant ($68,000). The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Gardner moved to fund the grant in aid agency, Volunteer Frederick, for $12,000. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Reeder moved to fund the Orphans Court maintenance contract for recording equipment for $1,560. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Commissioner Gardner moved to fund the grant in aid agency, Seton Center, for $2,400. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

March 28, 2006 - Frederick County After School Program seeking sub-grant approval- Office of Children & Families - Ms. Morey presented information to the Board regarding the after school program in Frederick County. Staff recommended that the Board approve the option to renew the after school program sub-grants for both the YMCA ($197,631) and the Boys and Girls Club ($49,408.60). A motion was put forth to approve staff's recommendation. The motion passed 3-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Gardner absent).

March 13, 2006 - Approval and signature of the Potomac River Water Supply Agreement for Transmission to the City of Frederick - Commissioner Cady moved to authorize Commissioner Thompson, as President of the BOCC, to sign the PRWSA and forward it on the City of Frederick officials for their signature. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

February 28, 2006 - Affordable Housing Council Deferred Loan Program Recommendations - Commissioner Reeder moved that the Board approve $25,000 to Way Station for Project #2, two single-family homes and $50,000 to Habitat for Humanity for one single family home, leveraging $123,000 not including required "sweat equity". The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

February 21, 2006 - Adoption of wellhead protection ordinance. - Commissioner Reeder moved to oppose and not support any further discussion or actions on a wellhead protection moratorium. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

January 31, 2006 - Financing of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc New Visitor Center- The Tourism Council presented a request to the Board for a letter of support for grant funding and a request for the County to provide the financing for the visitor's center by County bonds, to be repaid by the Tourism Council. Commissioner Cady moved for the Board to adoption the option and have all five Commissioners sign the letter of support. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

January 26, 2006 - FY 2007 Rural Legacy Grant Application - Land Preservation of the Planning Division informed the Board of grant funds that were awarded to Frederick County for FY 2006. They presented information about the grant application that would be made for Rural Legacy funds in the amount of $5 million. Staff requested that the Board approve the application for grant funds as presented. Commissioner Gardner moved to send a letter of thanks to Governor Ehrlich for the FY 2006 grand funds received by Frederick County and to approve the FY 2007 grant application as presented. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

December 15, 2005 - Permission to Apply for Victims of Crime Act Grant to fund New Child Advocate Position -Staff presented and recommended that the Board approve the application for Victims Of Crime Acts (VOCA) funding for a full-time child advocate position, and if funds were received, the related budget transfers. The motion passed 3-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Lovell absent).

December 6, 2005 - Endorsement of St. John's Lutheran Church Application for MD Historical Trust Capital Grant - The St. John's Lutheran Church requested support from the Board for a MD Historic Trust capital grant to restore the 1834 brick church building. The motion passed to endorse a FY 07 MD Historic Trust grant application, 3-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Lovell absent).

November 17, 2005 - Request of Letter of Support from Town of Thurmont - A representative from the Town of Thurmont, requested a letter of support from the Board, as required by the MD Historic Trust, for a capital grant to fund the restoration of the historic Thurmont Trolley Car #5. The motion passed, 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

January 6, 2005 - Courtesy Snow Removal- Dept of Highways & Transportation presented the list of requests for courtesy snow removal for the 2005 winter season. The total requests would result in 6.539 miles of road within the County receiving courtesy snow removal services. Staff recommended that the Board approve. Cady moved to approve. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

February 10, 2005 - Request from Town of Emmitsburg for Letter of Support - The Mayor requested Board approval for a letter of support for Emmitsburg's application for a Community Development Block Grant that would provide funds for a sewer rehabilitation project for the town. Cady moved that the Board authorize Thompson to sign the letter of support as presented. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

March 21, 2005 - Cady moved to restore $35,000 from the Contingency Fund to the budget of the Parks and Recreation Dept. The motion passed, 4-1 with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

March 24, 2005 - Affordable Housing Council Deferred Loan Program - Requested for approval of the loan programs were approved for Frederick County Dept of Housing's Homeownership Program for $40,000 and the FCAR Partnership for Housing Foundation for $50,000 passed 3-1 with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Gardner absent).

July 19, 2005 - Christmas Eve Holiday for County Employees - A motion was put forth to swap Christmas Eve as a holiday and the removal of another holiday for County employees. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner.

June 2, 2005 - Remaining County Operating Funds- Extension Service - The Extension Director presented a request for the Frederick Cooperative Extension Service to utilize excess FY 2004 fund of $1,106.46 for support of new, contractual faculty- computer equipment. The motion passed 3-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Cady absent).

Technology Development Corp- Fort Detrick Tech Transfer Contract - The Office of Economic Development presented a proposal contract to provide technology transfer services to companies wanting to do business on Ft. Detrick. This would establish a Technology Transfer Initiative in Frederick County. The motion was approved 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Update Regarding Alcoa Eastalco Works - Office of Economic Dev. Presented draft letters for the Board's consideration regarding keeping Alcoa Eastalco Works in Frederick Co. It was agreed that the letters would be signed by all the Commissioners except Thompson, who did not want to sign the letters. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

Maryland Horse Park - A request was submitted for Nomination as compiled by OED to apply to the MD Stadium Authority to locate an equestrian park in Frederick Co. The motion was successful, 3-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed. (Gardner absent).

July 19, 2005 - Christmas Eve Holiday for County Employees - A motion was put forth to swap Christmas Eve as a holiday and the removal of another holiday for County employees. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Reeder absent).

March 18, 2004 - The Office of Children and Families presented information regarding FY 2005 Youth Strategies Grant and how funds would be used if they were received. Staff recommended that the Board approve the FY 2005 Youth Strategies Grant application. A motion was made to approve. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

October 7, 2004 - Representatives from the Dept. of Aging presented a background and history of the Meals on Wheels program in Frederick County. They indicated that the program was running a deficit in FY 2005. A motion was made to authorize a budget transfer in the amount of $32,250 for the last quarter of 2004. And an item would be inserted into the budget, "Emergency Meals on Wheels". The vote as 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

June 24, 2004 - A representative from the Office of Economic Development presented a resolution regarding the MD Dept. of Business and Economic Development and Technology Development Corp. funding to Frederick County for the renovations and equipment needed for the Frederick County Technology Incubator to be located at Hood College. The resolution outlined that the Board approved $100,000 per year for five years for the operating funds for the incubator and approved the grant funding application to the MD Dept. of Business and Economic Development and to the MD Technology Development Corp., in the amount of $425,000 each. A motion was made to approve. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

SHERIFF

May 16, 2006 - Commissioner Cady moved to fund the addition of eight sheriff's deputies. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

December 22, 2005 - Request for Additional School Crossing Guard Position.

The Sheriff's Office requested an additional school crossing guard for Centerville Elementary School in the FY 2006. The motion was passed, 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

December 21, 2004 - A representative from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office presented information regarding the Sheriff's Office motorcycle force. Staff recommended that the Board approve two motorcycles to replace the Sheriff's Office's two current motorcycles. Fleet Services indicated that there was $8500 in replacement funds for the motorcycles. The additional funding needed for the replacement was $6,304 that could come from the Sheriff Office's budget. A motion was made to approve the Fleet Services purchase of the two motorcycles. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

FIRE & RESCUE

May 16, 2006 - Commissioner Lovell moved to fund Fire and Rescue Services Division, Emergency Management Bureau's fiscal manager position. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

May 8, 2006 - Request for Reimbursement of permitting fees- Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Co.

The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) presented a request for the Board to exempt the company form the Frederick County permit and excise fees. They also stated that once services cease in the current building it would revert back to Frederick County. The EVAC would like to sell the building and use the money from the sale towards the new building with the land staying under the ownership of Frederick County.

A motion was made to read: To reimburse the EVAC for an amount up to $30,000 for Frederick County taxes and fees directly related to the construction of the EVAC's new building exclusive of any costs associated with the social hall, such funds to be transferred from the debt commitment fee account from FY 2006. The motion passed 4-1; Mr. Thompson's solo act once more.

February 21, 2006 - Thurmont Community Ambulance Service Canine Search and Rescue Team - Commissioner Cady moved to authorize the county manager to meet with the Thurmont Ambulance Service Canine Search & Rescue Team and the FRSD to craft a memorandum of understanding addressing staff concerns on liability and be brought back to the Board. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

January 23, 2006 - New Market Region Plan Update - Commissioner Lovell moved to enlarge the growth limit area to encompass the fire training facility. The motion passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

March 31, 2005 - FY 2005 Equipment Purchasing Approval- Fire & Rescue - The Accounting dept presented their recommendation for the Board to approve the purchase of vehicles/equipment for the Fire & Rescue Services Division in FY 2005 through lease financing. The motion passed 4-1 with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

March 22, 2005 - Ambulance Service for Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Dept. - The VFRS director requested approval for an ambulance to be stationed and manned 12 hours a day, five days per week at their location. Lovell moved to establish ambulance service at Lewistown and that the positions be filled from the next group of graduates, that the administrative work begin immediately and to equip and proved an ambulance dispatch during daytime hours, for 2 positions in FY 2005. Cady moved to state that 3.5 FTE's be authorized for FY 06. The motions passed 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.

November 22, 2005 - Bid Award Recommendation Additional Cost of Rescue Engine 11 - Purchasing presented a request for Board approval of changes to Rescue engine 11, which was being purchased for Independent Hose Co. The Board approved the use of $7,700 from the lease purchasing escrow account to reflect staff's request and to approve the necessary transfer. The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed (Gardner & Reeder absent).

June 24, 2004 - A representative from the Fire and Rescue Services presented a request to reimburse Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Company No. 16 in the amount of $20,000 for the purchase of a station emergency generator. A motion was made to approve. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Thompson opposed.



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