Ireton Prefers to Fiddle While Salisbury Burns

One thing has been made crystal clear during this whole episode, in Jimmy Ireton’s world politics will always trump public safety … or good public policy.

SALISBURY, MD – There are some things you will not read in the Daily Times.  You will never read a factual article that criticizes Wicomico’s Board of Education.  You will never read that the world’s weather runs in short and long term cycles and the notion of “climate change” is a myth.  You also won’t read about Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton’s fits at Salisbury council meetings or the true actions of certain council members.

While Salisbury firefighters, and the town’s citizenry, may have been happy to see the Salisbury council accept a $1.4 million federal grant to hire additional firefighters, one person was VERY disappointed – Mayor Jim Ireton.  Repeated attempts to goad the council majority into voting no failed.  Ireton’s claims that the council was “holding this money hostage” fell on deaf ears.  A 4-0 vote for acceptance would have been a 5-0 vote if Ireton had CHOSEN to act his age rather than perform like a two year old.

One thing was crystal clear Monday night; Jim Ireton believes that scoring cheap political points FAR exceeds the safety of the citizens of Salisbury.

If the twelve additional firefighters were so desperately needed, why has Ireton failed to request the additional firefighters in any of his budgets?  Why were firefighters and police officers furloughed?  If this grant was so important, why did Ireton REFUSE to allow the fire department to apply for it until THREE DAYS before the application deadline?

None of these questions will be asked by the mainstream media.  Ireton will never have to answer them.  Why?  Because attacking council members like Debbie Campbell is far more important than solving the city’s problems.

WHY DID CAMPBELL VOTE NO?

First of all, she didn’t.  Campbell abstained.  Campbell stated that she would vote yes, but needed Ireton’s word that he would provide the UNAUDITED figures for the city’s cash balance and contribution to surplus by September 30th.  The city’s finance director had already stated that the numbers would be available before that date.  Ireton’s response was to puff up and refuse to respond.  While we disagree that this was necessary to vote yes, it was in Campbell’s view.  The request was reasonable.  She is a council member and I am not.

Instead we endured Ireton lecturing the council, falsely claiming that the council (in general) and Campbell (in particular) was somehow holding the firefighters hostage.  We have had to endure the media (particularly the Daily Times) inaccurately report that Ireton heroically persuaded FEMA to move back the deadline for acceptance.

To be blunt, we question whether or not there really was a deadline two weeks ago.  One things is for sure, this entire sordid episode was driven by Jim Ireton’s disgraceful desire to destroy his political opponents.  Like standing on a soapbox and calling council members racists, Ireton prefers to slash and burn rather than see Salisbury become a better place to live and work.  One need only to look at the chronology of events leading up to Monday’s big show:

  • Ireton refused to allow firefighters to apply for the grant until the deadline.
  • Ireton refused to disclose to council that the grant had been applied for.
  • When the grant was awarded, Ireton refused to tell the council when the deadline for acceptance was.
  • Ireton refused to answer questions put to him and his administration. (Ireton claims he “responded” to every question.  Saying I’m not going to answer may be a “response” but is hardly productive.)
  • Council found a $400,000 error in the grant application’s calculations.
  • After refusing to tell council president Terry Cohen when the deadline was, Ireton demanded that the council put the grant on the agenda just a few hours before the meeting, claiming that the deadline was 9 AM Tuesday.
  • Ireton attempted to goad the council majority into voting no this past Monday.

In the end, Ireton’s scheme didn’t work.  All parties, except Ireton, bent a little.  The Fire Department apologized for the errors on their part and the council approved the grant despite Ireton’s refusal to answer simple, and valid, questions.

One thing has been made crystal clear during this whole episode, in Jimmy Ireton’s world politics will always trump public safety … or good public policy.

Sorry Jimmy, our world view is slightly different than yours.

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