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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


March 8, 2016

Sinking Into the Abyss Politically & Money Wise

Harry M. Covert

There are so many exciting things going on, both pro and con, good and bad and plain old ridiculous, so let’s have a good potpourri or even a synthesis of the news cycle.

 

► It won’t be surprising if the national chaos around the Grand Old Party’s disreputable machinations slithers down to the state and county levels. That’s here in Frederick County for you novices out there.

 

The county’s General Assembly delegation will be on the outside looking in if they continue to buck local conservative-GOP support. Among the shocking things is Republican Del. William Folden’s support for the county executive to be involved with sheriff’s collective bargaining.

 

Mr. Folden, a former deputy sheriff, apparently has not gotten over his loss to Sheriff-for-Life Chuck Jenkins in an election cycle a few years back. He apparently is siding with the current county executive, who continues her vindictive leadership in her attempts to destroy everything the last Board of County Commissioners ever did. Leadership is not “get even.”

 

Just look at the statistics. Mr. Folden could well be on his way out when the next election arrives. It’s an outrage that he sides against conservative leadership for personal animus. Just as the national presidential brouhaha is dividing the nation, probably even more devastating that the War Between the States, Frederick Countians are awakening, and the next campaign will be fun, fun and more fun. Quietly, candidates are thinking about facing off with Mr. F.

 

Following a recent dialogue in this space of possible interested candidates to face the current county executive within three short years, we’ve been inundated with suggestions and criticisms for not including Kelly Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

 

I apologize.

 

One of the reasons I didn’t bother to inquire is state and national politicos think the distinguished former delegate from Frederick County is being groomed for higher office. She is highly regarded as a member of the governor’s cabinet, maybe first among equals. Could she be headed for the governor’s mansion in Annapolis – or a U.S. Senate seat? This is not wishful thinking, gentle reader.

 

There can be no denial public education is pricey and gets more expensive as the years slip by. Taxpaying citizens hereabouts probably aren’t aware of the incredible dollars just to build schools. People always hear that public teachers and administrators are so underpaid and suffer in their chosen profession. Of course, only if they are compared to the Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher getting $15 million for one season and one inning, the salaries are not in the major leagues:

 

Here are some facts to consider, but please now don’t weep:

 

The costs of benefits for Frederick County Public Schools is nearly 44 percent. Thus a school teacher, administrator, et al, receiving a $100,000 salary actually costs the taxpayers nearly $144,000.

 

The total expenditures for salaries in the current fiscal year for school board employees is $314,319,493. The benefits are: for medical, $63,258,926; for dental, $2,132,926; for life insurance, $1,350,904; for pension, $47,009,258; for FICA, $23,622,874; for unemployment, $230,847; and for disability insurance, $5,850. Thus the total for benefits is $137,610,752.

 

So, the total for salary and benefits is $452,002,246.

 

In another time let’s address expenditures for school construction. How any are needed in the future and now, and how to pay for them?

 

Don’t get nervous as you ponder these figures. Let’s not get put out – or surprised – or discouraged. I just wish I had learned to throw a knuckleball or hit homeruns in the major leagues or be commissioner of the National Football League. Why compare the statistics to sports? Simple. The NFL commissioner earns $44 million in salary yearly.

 

Public education is not wishing. It’s vital to us all and is going to continually cost a pretty penny – I mean lots of Legal Tender.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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