Daily Times Refuses to Provide “The Rest of the Story”


SALISBURY, MD – Salisbury’s Daily Times continues its practice of misinforming its readers when it comes to Salisbury’s city government.  In fact, things have gotten so bad that they aren’t even capable of telling the whole story even when they are right.

Monday evening, a motion to include acceptance of a $1.4 million federal grant for the Salisbury Fire Dept. on the meeting’s agenda failed.  According to the administration of Mayor Jim Ireton this effectively killed the grant.  As far as this goes, that is true.  What about “the rest of the story”, including another Ireton hissy fit where he ordered all city employees to leave the council meeting?

On August 1st, council president Terry Cohen asked Ireton to provide any deadlines.  Ireton refused to do so until Monday afternoon when he attempted to bully Cohen into putting the item on Monday’s agenda as an “emergency” item.

Why wasn’t the grant on Monday’s agenda to begin with?  Great question … and fair.  At the previous work session, several questions were asked by council members.  They included little things like how much would the city have to spend over the next couple of years to accept the grant and what happens when the grant expires.  Will the city simply fire the firefighters or will the city raise taxes to pay for those positions into the future?  To his credit, acting chief Rick Hoppes did attempt to respond to the questions posed to him.  Unfortunately they were not complete.  As usual, Ireton’s office obfuscated.

These are valid concerns.  Should the city hire additional firefighters if they will have to fire them in two years?  Should the city commit itself to a property tax increase of 2 – 4 cents two years from now?

As for the revised grant amount and the “sudden” deadline, does anyone really believe Ireton?  Since when did the federal government operate at such speed?  Yes, we know that the Obama administration is eager to give away your hard earned tax dollars (plus a lot of cash borrowed from China), but …?  Are we to believe that they changed the deadline, or is it more likely that Ireton chose to withhold the information from council in order to score another cheap political point?

Are we also to believe that Ireton “gave a small group of firefighters with no grant-writing experience just three days to complete the application on deadline” when he has staff that specialize in such matters?  To say that this strains credulity is an understatement.

The Daily Times is correct that this wasn’t handled well.  WHY wasn’t it handled well?  The DT alludes to “poor communication” and “foot dragging” on the part of Ireton but saves its venom for council members Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies. Of course, this should be expected.  As we have noted in the past, the Daily Times manages to report real news on almost every issue they cover EXCEPT the Salisbury City government.  In that little arena they continue to mis-represent the facts almost every time.

Curiously, recent actions by the paper show that this is definitely a fish that stinks from the head down.  Many readers may have hoped that coverage would improve once disgraced local editor Joe Carmean and Ireton acolyte / “reporter” Sarah Lake were pushed out the door over some amusing, but relatively minor, ethical lapses.  Sadly, coverage by cub reporter Jeremy Cox is almost as biased as any with Lake’s byline.  Are readers to believe that the DT’s management cannot hire anyone capable of fair and accurate reporting of Salisbury city government?  Of course not!  The only logical conclusion is that the paper’s management encourages such behavior.

Campbell, Cohen, and Spies could have reach a compromise on this matter.  They could have easily inserted into the grant acceptance resolution that the governing body DID NOT approve the application, as attested to by the Ireton administration.  If the government then refused to fund the grant, that’s too bad.  I realize that neither Ireton, nor his council cohorts – Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields – have any problem with “bending” the truth.  This doesn’t mean that Campbell, et al, can’t try to find a way to make such a debacle work.  This only allows Ireton, Mitchell, Shields, AND the Daily Times to score political points at their expense.

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