Unpublished Letter to the Whig From Mike Dunn, Candidate for Commissioner, Comments on Charter

This letter to the editor from Mike Dunn, a candidate for County Commissioner, was submitted to the Cecil Whig two weeks ago.  Periodically we’ve printed other letters that didn’t appear in the newspaper and since Mike  forwarded a copy to Someone Noticed, asking if we would publish it, we’ve posted it here.   The letter about charter government was in response to another letter that daily newspaper printed on its editorial page.


Dear Editor,

    I was very concerned by Monday’s letter from the Cecil Land Use Alliance promoting charter government.  It is troubling that CLUA is taking this position when according to the State Board of Elections, “The Friends of Charter” are overwhelmingly financed by out-of-state and out-of-county developers.   Is this really “more local control?”

    There are also a number of inaccuracies which I feel need to be corrected.  The statement by Ms. Belknap that the cost of government will not increase is incorrect.  Every charter government in Maryland has become bigger and more expensive over time, not to mention new taxing powers that are given to any charter government under Article 25 of the state code.

     Charter removes the current checks and balances by eliminating the elected office of treasurer and removing the power of the state delegation to fight tax hikes.  Charter would also prohibit citizens from going to the polls to challenge tax increases by referendum.  

     I would suggest that CLUA look into the ongoing situtation being documented by local blogs.  This scandal shows that money from out-of-county builders is funding “Friends of Charter.” 

            How can we end up with “clearer accountability” under charter when they start with this?  The fact is charter will only result in bigger government with higher taxes.  Please save Cecil County and vote no to Charter!

 Mike Dunn

Rising Sun, MD – Candidate for Cecil County Commissioner


20 responses to “Unpublished Letter to the Whig From Mike Dunn, Candidate for Commissioner, Comments on Charter

  1. Mike,

    I was very concerned by your letter posted here on Someone Noticed. It is troubling the number of inaccuracies your have posted:

    MYTH: ‘“Friends of Charter” are overwhelmingly being financed by out of state and out of county developers.”

    FACT: EVERY single one of the developers that contributed to “Friends of Charter” have home developments in Cecil County. Where their corporate office is located is not relevant.

    MYTH: “…charter government in Maryland has become bigger and more expensive over time” (quote)

    FACT: EVERY form of county government (Commissioner, Charter, or Code Home Rule) has become bigger and more expensive over time. So has state government. So has federal government. So has life. If you look at the 10 counties that currently have a Charter form of government – half of them have a tax rate BELOW Cecil County’s current tax rate.

    MYTH: “new taxing powers are given to any Charter government
    under Article 25 of the state code.”

    FACT: What “new” taxing powers are given to any Charter government under Article 25 of the state code?

    MYTH: “Charter removes the current checks and balances by eliminating the elected office of treasurer”.

    FACT: The elected office of treasurer has nothing to do with “checks and balances” of any form of county government. However, Charter does establish the position of Chief Financial Officer in the place of Treasurer.

    MYTH: Charter removes the “power of the state delegation to fight tax hikes.”

    FACT: Not true. The state delegation still has the authority to authorize new taxes, license or franchise fees, tax credits, impact fees or excise taxes.

    MYTH: “Charter would prohibit citizens from going to the polls to challenge tax increases by referendum.”

    FACT: Under ANY form of county government (including the current Commissioner form), citizens do not have the authority to go to the polls to challenge tax increases by referendum.

    Warning to the voters of Cecil County: Mike Dunn did not show up for the Cecil County Patriots Candidate debate in early August. He also did not show up for the Cecil County Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee candidate forum two weeks ago. He also did not show for the Cecil County Fireman’s Association forum this past Monday night..

    Draw your own conclusions….

    • In the interest of transparancy, full disclosure, and fairness, I would like to point out that Mr. Dunn is employed by Delegate Smigiel and is paid by the State of Maryland. Also, he is a candidate for Cecil County Commissioner whose opponent is Board of Commissioners President Brian Lockhart. Furthermore, as a candisdate he is a member of the “Fiscal Conservative Team” slate which includes Del. Smigiel and Sen. Pipkin. Now the political nature of the SMIPKIN attacks on the Board of Commissioners, Office of Economic Development, and Friends of Charter becomes clear. As long time opponents of Charter, which would reduce their control over Cecil County, they have chosen to attack the messenger (Friends of Charter). Still angry over their losses in the matters of Special Taxing Districts, Binding Arbitration, and Tax Cap, they continue to target any and all who oppose them. As I recall, the term “checks and balances” refers to the separation of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, not two members of the Maryland Legislature trying to control Cecil County. Mr. Abbott has done an excellent job of refuting some of the myths of Charter.

      • Beale, Michael Dunn is an outstanding person, and more than qualified for the position of Cecil County Commissioner. You and Abbott kept asking for other opinions on charter and when Michael Dunn post his opinion you start with your Smigiel/Pipkin remarks. I was told years ago that as long as your name gets out good or bad it helps. Well SMIGIEL, SMIGIEL, SMIGIEL SMIGIEL. PIPKIN, PIPKIN, PIPKIN PIPKIN. Add your many times posting their names they should be big winners. I am sure they appreciate your help.

        • The “your name mentioned good or bad “was a Hollywood publicist’s remark. My comment had to do with transparency. Regurgitating the SMIPKIN line without acknowledging the association was the issue.

        • How about Smipkindunn?

        • Bee,
          Other opinions, yes. Lies and false innuendo (whoops, I’m sorry, Myth), No.

          Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes. Charter Yes.

          Smipkindunnbee, no!

        • Raoul, Lies, false innuendo myths, are harsh words from a person that can’t prove his remarks. I haven’t seen Michael Dunn be anything but a gentleman with his opinions. That is not his style and that is one of the many reasons he will make a outstanding Cecil County Commissioner.When people like you and a few others become so desperate that you find it necessary to call someones opinion Lies,false innuendo, myths tells me you are very , very worried this election will not be to your wishes.

        • Bee, oh Bee,
          I was simply supporting James Abbott’s critique of Dunn’s letter to the editor, and Mr. Beale’s agreement. Sorry you didn’t get that subtle thumb up.

          Yes, I would like other opinions, however, Dunn’s regurgitated talking points fall in line with those who want to keep their power network intact by misleading voters through fear tactics.

          Is there anyone who actually has proof to support his or her broad inaccuracies? I think not, or it would be presented.

          The Friends of Charter and their supporters have presented a solid case. Dunn does not present anything, but rather alludes to other vague and unsubstantiated claims.

          No one can debunk Mr. Abbott’s ‘Facts’ because that is what they are…Facts. Are there any actual facts to be presented by Smipkindunnbee?

          “The fact that an opinion is widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd.” Bertrand Russell”

  2. James:
    Thanks for sharing your points. By-the-way, I mentioned to Joyce Bowlsbey that we’d be welcome copy from the Friends about the strength of charter and it’s importance to efficient governance in Cecil County. We’d also welcome it from other informed and reasoned contributors and we’d get it up on the news section of the web-log.

  3. Kennard Wiggins

    Since my retirement in 2004 I have been drawn into local civic affairs. I take an active interest in my community and I think it is important for our citizens to be participants and well informed on the issues at hand. I’m for good government. For this reason, I commend to you the efforts of the local non-partisan board of citizens who have drafted a Charter government proposal for Cecil County. It will be on the ballot in November. I urge you to read and review this document: http://www.ccgov.org/commissioners/charterboard.cfm.

    Our present form of commissioner government is a government by committee that can do little more than shift from crisis to crisis. There is no single individual accountable for any single action. Charter government would give us a County Executive whose feet could be held to the fire of responsibility. Charter government would help relieve us from the interference in local affairs by Annapolis politicians. The best governance is the one that is closest to us, and I believe a Charter government for our county would be preferable to the dictates from Annapolis.

    A noteworthy, innovative, and commendable feature of the Charter Government Initiative is the requirement for a five year strategic plan by the County Executive, the Council and department heads in a public forum with public participation. It requires that this plan be annually reviewed in open session, and sets the five most important priorities for the County. It would be refreshing for our leadership to place their decisions on a deliberative process in a meaningful context instead of lurching from one emergency to the next.

    Some are wary of Charter Government because they fear additional cost of government. This is a legitimate concern in these difficult times and one with which I sympathize. The Charter Board was well aware that previous Charter efforts floundered on these very rocks and took pains to avoid the shoals of additional expense. They wisely designed a structure that is almost neutral in terms of the costs of the structure by reducing some salaries, and eliminating some positions in order to “pay the bill” for the added features.

    The cost of government is mostly a result of population and services provided – not a result of the form of local government. Charter government cannot create new taxes, impact fees, or new tax credits. The people we elect to serve in Annapolis do that. The ability to govern locally, effectively, and more efficiently (see the long range plan feature) makes the case that this form of local government could be better than neutral in terms of cost. It will certainly be more transparent, and responsive to the voters, and that alone offers the probability of cost benefits. I urge you to study the Charter, and vote for it in November.

  4. Kennard, thanks for your informative post on Charter. And also thanks for signing the piece. That adds so much weight to any comment, especially when one looks at the anonymous blog sites and posts with fictious names. If you want I can elevate your opinon piece to the front of the blog.

  5. What a great Post from Kennard and James I need not say more. I voted for Charter Yesterday. Mike Dunn is a Smipkin puppet. He shows up when he is allowed to, he suupports when told to. Mike man up! This Republican voted for Brian Lockhart.

  6. Sharp/Schneckenburger, Are you the Tina Sharp that ran against Brueckman in the last election and lost big time? If so would you like to share and explain your actions with the readers? Isn’t your name now Tina Schneckenburger the one that had the fundraiser for Friends of Charter? Some of us have very good memories. I voted yesterday also. For Michael Dunn

  7. [Remarks removed by Someone Noticed – rather than focusing on personalities, we’ll ask readers to focus on issues. A little poking at politicians, since they’re in the public sphere is fine though as long as it is civil.] Here’s what charter is really about Mike!

    Dear Friends,
    The right to vote for local, state and national leaders is one of our basic rights as Americans. Local governance is another of those basic rights. On November 2nd (or starting October 22nd with early voting) the ability of Cecil County to have local governance will be on the ballot in the form of Charter Government.

    Under Charter Government:
    The Maryland General Assembly has less control over Cecil County affairs
    A County Executive is elected at large who will act as CEO and provide leadership and vision for Cecil County
    There will be “Checks & Balances” between the County Executive and County Council
    There will be a defined organizational structure to manage County business & resolve complex issues
    5 Council members will be elected at large by all voters
    The Cecil County Council and voters have more control over Cecil County affairs
    There will be 24/7 accountability to the citizens
    There will be central leadership and strategic planning for the County
    There will be effective and efficient local government to manage local affairs
    The Charter is available for review at http://www.ccgov.org or http://www.friendsofcharter.com

    Please vote YES for Charter
    Local Issues = Local Vote Bring Democracy Home!

    • Bill thanks for sharing your view on why you support charter. I also read your editorial in the Guardian.

      I will soon have voted six times on modifying Cecil County’s form of government. Since 1968 I’ve eagerly voted in support of those ballot questions but they failed. Now that I’m being asked to consider it again, the recent way the county has handled the campaign financing question causes me to pause as I consider my early vote this time (I happen to approve of early voting too.)

      The questions were about government’s handling of the matter. The bus tours were commonly promoted by Economic Development’s marketing, speeches, broadcasts, and media sites as activities they coordinate, sponsor, organize, and/or arrange and also that produce such excellent outcomes for the county. That has to cause one to wonder if the county is so strongly involved in this, why could it suddenly become a fundraiser for a political campaign. That basic, not unreasonable question, was all that needed to be answered, but getting that basic answer became a real challenge and had to grow extremely tangled in order to get the first real pass at sorting it out, as we edged toward the election. It would have been much better to have a debate about the pros and cons of forms of local government, without sorting out the how’s and why’s Cecil Co handed off a profit making tour.

      Posts arguing points central to the pros and cons of charter are welcome, with less emphasis on people.

  8. Mike,
    It would have been better to have a debate about charter.
    To date, many proponents have submitted their positive and factual views on your blog.
    You are the one who is still hung-up on the last minute political stunt by the anti-charter group, which by the way was as your instigation.
    If the opposition has this one pathetic tool to use for their position, I am sure the intelligent voters of Cecil County will make the right choice and vote yes for Charter.
    Hey Mike, you should be happy that you won’t have to vote about charter ever again.

  9. Bee…Mike Dunn is on the ballot in Queen Anne’s County ?

  10. Beale, If you are trying to make a funny. Just to make you happy HAHA If your trying to confuse voters, they are too sharp to fall for that. Otherwise, I have no idea what you are talking about, and it seems to me neither do you.

    • Bee…Are you a Cecil County resident or do you reside in Queen Anne’s County ?

      • Beale, I am a very proud Cecil County Citizen. I pay my taxes, shop in Cecil County,vote in Cecil County. I have come to the conclusion you are a person that wants to argue, even if it’s with a blank sign.

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