SALISBURY, MD – “Leadership” is one of those words like “pornography”. It may be tough to define, but like the late Justice Potter Stewart, we know it when we see it. Look the word up in Webster’s dictionary:
noun, the capacity to lead; the act or an instance of leading
Here is a generally accepted definition:
To guide on a way (or path), usually by going first.
After a week of attacking and brow beating the Wicomico County Council, the Daily Times and the political arm of the Wicomico County Board of Education were able to get one council member to jump ship and change their vote. Now, the same Daily Times is hailing the council for its “LEADERSHIP”. It seems that the good folks at the DT have a NEW definition for the term:
Doing what we say, no matter how foolish or how much it costs.
Everyone has a right to change their mind. Councilwoman Stevie Prettyman did just that. Council members John Hall, Matt Holloway, and Sheree Sample-Hughes have a right to vote how they wish. If voters don’t like their decisions they will have at least one opportunity to vote them out (possibly two opportunities if there is a primary) in 2014. That’s fine, but to call what they did “leadership” would be a laugh riot if the consequences were no so serious.
They, along with County Executive Rick Pollitt, may luck out. Perhaps the state won’t continue to cut its funding to the county. Perhaps the public won’t scream bloody murder when public safety spending (including the State’s Attorney’s office) results in fewer deputies on the street or criminals receiving plea bargains for serious crimes.
One of the things that disturbs me most about Prettyman’s “change of heart” is her inability to articulate a valid reason for her actions. There was no “NEW INFORMATION”. Sure, county finance director Andy Mackel may have been ordered by Pollitt to send some more paper to Prettyman and her council colleagues, but there was no NEW information. Bonding new money was always an option. The claim that Pollitt was “going around the charter” was a red herring. The council would have been required to pass two additional bills.
Prettyman, Hall, et al, have just purchased the proverbial “pig in a poke” with YOUR tax dollars. Unless everything falls into the exact right place over the next several years, education, along with other necessary functions of county government, will suffer. They will suffer dearly.
But … don’t worry. If the county goes broke and / or the revenue cap is overturned, DON’T WORRY! If your house is broken into and it takes the Sherriff’s office takes 45 minutes to respond … DON’T WORRY! We’ll have a shiny new school to point to. Besides … According to the Daily Times, our council displayed “LEADERSHIP”.
Well … at least four of them did. Shame on Gail Bartkovich, Bob Culver, and Joe Holloway for being fiscally responsible. For shame! Show some leadership. Put the county deeper in debt. Agree to a tax increase without knowing what the budget will look like.
Perhaps, if the Daily Times ever branches out into book publishing they can produce a dictionary. Under “leadershp” they can place pictures of Mrs. Prettyman and former Salisbury councilwoman Louise Smith.