County to Have 5-Member Budget Advisory Group, But They Hold Off on Appointing Members or Determining Focus

Cecil County Commissioners Meeting, Feb 1, 2011 — A final decisions on forming a citizen’s committee to find savings opportunities in the county budget will be held over for at least one more week, following a split vote on how many appointees will serve on the board.  At Tuesday’s workshop, Commissioner Hodge recommended two seats each, while Commissioner Broomell moved that each elected officials designate one person.  That motion passed, three to two, with Commissioners Hodge and Dunn opposing the question.  Commissioner Dunn thought the formation of the group would make a difficult process more challenging while his colleague on this vote favored the larger body. 

Beyond settling the size of the group, officials mulled over practical matters about the committee’s focus or purpose.  A paper distributed by Commissioner Hodge suggested the panel “assess Cecil County’s organizational structure and operating budget” and make recommendations “that would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of how the county government provides service to its citizens,” While the others didn’t discuss those objectives, both President Mullin and Commissioner Hodge said they thought the group should concentrate on the operating budget, and not capital spending. 

Commissioner Hodge has also noted that he wants a range of “subject matter experts” with specific skill sets to serve on the board to help sort out the complex budgetary matters under consideration.  There will be other ways for citizens to provide input, such as the county website, he noted.

During the regular board meeting that evening, four citizens addressed the creation of the advisory group.  Thanking the commissioners “for giving the citizens of Cecil County the opportunity to participate in the annual budget process,” Ron Lobos asked each official “to vet these candidates on their qualifications and commitment to the job.  It’s not important that you choose someone from the Cecil County Tea Party or the Cecil County Patriots or the Republican Central Committee, but it is important that you make wise decisions” that address the interests of our taxpayers.  Another speaker, Al Reasin, said he believed there was a need for each commissioner to appoint two people because of the number of budgetary matters the panel will need to review.         

So it appears the matter will be up for consideration again at next Tuesday’s workshop.


17 responses to “County to Have 5-Member Budget Advisory Group, But They Hold Off on Appointing Members or Determining Focus

  1. For a cross-section of the citizens of Cecil County, I hope the Commissioners look beyond Cecil County Tea Party or the Cecil County Patriots or the Republican Central Committee or the Cecil County GOP or any cronies to which they owe favors.

    There are a great many Independents, Unaffiliated and Democrats that should be considered equally.

    The entire board is R, but they must represent the entire population of Cecil County.

  2. One suggestion Diogenes – Don’t approve this committee. This is a stupid idea brought about by a board of commissioners that is obviously pandering to one interest group. Anyone who thinks this is not a “thank-you” to the Tea Bag groups who effectively insured the election of at least one unqualified commissioner, should take another schwill of the Kool-aid. Whether you like paying taxes or not, the government is responsible for providing certain services, which cost money. Addtitionally, county workers, who haven’t had a raise in three years, are privately being told to expect furloughs or layoffs, along with no raises. You can’t keep happy workers to provide these necessary services if you keep treating them like s$%#. But, hey, my property tax bill stayed the same, so Tea Bag away. Cecil County, where the “Good ‘Ol Boy” system is alive and well!

    • So, Rowdy, do you have any ideas/suggestions/solutions?

      • Forget the NoNewTaxesHigherUnemploymentSliceAndBurn Citizen Advisory Gang, aided and abetted by the CecilCountyTeaParty-CecilCountyPatriots-RepublicanCentralCommittee-GOP. Cronies supporting cronies and eliminating those who disagree.

        Throw out the two unqualified, incompetent commissioners who recently slid into office on a party landslide. Replace them with the more qualified, knowledgeable individuals who will make intelligent decisions and have the experience to accomplish the necessary tasks at hand. Throw out, or at least step down, the board president for campaign finance manipulation and general ineptitude. And lastly, let’s get rid of smigiel. He won by a narrower margin than the other Rs and is linked at the hip to the Smipkindunmellin regime who still haven’t filed their most recent campaign finance reports and have received notice. Cover-up and evasion.

  3. Just for clarity – I would wholeheartedly support getting additional expertise – from qualified volunteers. That’s not an oxymoron.

    The “morons” comment was offered as a description of the elected officials who postpone forming such a group to get the help they need.

    In other communities, this method is working successfully – at many levels. The school district in which I live has formed a group from volunteers with the simple challenge of cutting $1.2 million from the budget. The group is seeking input from each community – from parents and students, too – so that whatever cuts are recommended are done in a well-informed fashion. Honestly, I’d rather have the input from those who use the services. The decision is still in the laps of the elected officials, but, an open effort to get more input is a step in the right direction.

    However, it looks like the commissioners are screwing this up.

    Get some help. Don’t delay. I’d say if they can’t get something as simple as this taken care of in 30 days, someone should start a campaign to recall.

    • Wayne,
      See my reply to Diogenes. I agree with you.

      Unfortunately, all the input in the world won’t help these nincompoops.

      Our ‘officials’ are running around, bumping into each other, crying ‘what to do, what to do…should it be this, should it be that…uh oh…we didn’t know anything ’bout this stuff’.

      No one needs to say that haven’t had time. Why on earth did they run if they did not research what the problems were going to be and how they would solve our Counties dilemma? What did they think their job was going to be?

      Apparently the five (three absolutely, two in question) cannot get in touch with their leader for instructions.

      This is so pathetic, I now tell people that I live in Harford County.

  4. Here is a suggestion: If you absolutely must have this citizens commission, then each commissioner appoint two to this commission, one citizen and one county employee. There are alot of intelligent & qualified employees who work for the county, who probably have some really good ideas on how things should run. Take one employee (not management) from DPW, Sheriff’s Office, DES, and two from the county building and let them on the commission. Who better to provide insight on what expenses are absolutely necessary than the people “in the trenches taking grenades.” The commissioners, however, would never go for this plan, as they are of the opinion that all county employees are overpaid, whiney, and incompetent. You asked for my suggestion, here it is.

  5. Following an afternoon in the county building, observing non-stop coffee breaks, cigarette breaks, snack breaks, walking back and forth in the hallway, extended bathroom break with newspaper in hand, etc. I asked 5 people how they might handle the budget. The answers were varied, but basically all conveyed the message…’I don’t know, as long as I don’t lose my job.’

    I then followed up asking who should be let go. All five named at least two people in their departments that ‘do nothing’, or ‘is an idiot’, or ‘over the hill’, or ‘paper pusher’, and my favorite ‘got the job because of her husband’s connections’.

    So yes, let’s ask the county employees, per department, to vote on who should be let go. We could call it ‘Cecil County Biggest Losers’.

    • Raoul:

      Funny as we too visit the ocunty office building often and haven’t see the things you say you observed on your visit. The county has a professional staff of dedicated employees and they’re as productive as any workforce you’re going to find. That’s our position at Someone Noticed.

      We must be traveling in different places for our observations to be so, so different.

      Since we started covering local government affairs, we’ve always found the workers to be most productive and professional, carrying out their tasks, whatever they are with a great deal of efficiency. The problem isn’t usually with the staff, but tends to rest with the politicians if we speak generally.

  6. How about the people who ran for office saying they wanted to do the job, then won the job, actually do the job. Any citizen, at any time, can offer advise to the elected commissioners on any subject they wish to. I did not vote for some unknown group of advisors to do the work of running the county. If four of our commissioners can not find it in themselves to make the hard choices necessary to make cuts and reduce the size of the government than they should resign and let some one serve who can do the job.

    • Which one of the Commisioners do you feel is capable of “making the hard choices”?

      • The Man Doth Protest Too Much

        Halligan are you working to get on the budget committee too. In reference to what the casino committee, or as you say the LDC and the MD constitution outline, let’s see if we can get that committee to have a few more meetings and finish up its job, before we get on another one. That Mayor of Perryville has been ready with his plan so stop holding him up Halligan.

        The clock is ticking on this budget and we don’t have time for these ineffective groups when it comes to setting the county budget. The county administration is capable of handling whatever cost cutting is required, in a much more equitable way. Look at the LDC, as you call it, if you want proof. We don’t need more of these types of committees.

        Congrats to one commissioner for standing up against the Moore, Hodge and Broomel Tsunami to put their Tea Party friends on a county comittee. Surely there is some other comittee with less important work to help out where time and importance are not as crticial. Okay Halligan. Go back and read your constitution some more so that when the “LDC” meets, you can brief Red Righter and other members of the LDC.

        Make sure you keep us all informed about the meeting will you.

        • Question for The Man Doth Protest Too Much: Who is the one Commissioner who stands up to the “Tsunami “? Check with Concerned Citizen and get back to us. Read the Maryland Constitution regarding the Local Development Council (LDC) and understand their role before attacking them.

        • T-M-D-P-T-M,
          What do you mean by “stand up”. The only two you leave out are dunnb and mullinaround…neither one has done anything except move money around for the Smipkin regime. [Edit – Commissioner Broomell] is part of that click as well.

          OK everyone,
          In addition to my ‘Cecil County Biggest Loser’ budget cutting idea, why don’t we just replace all the do-nothing, know-nothing, decide-nothing sitting commissioners with those they ran against. At least a couple of them are used to making decisions. This would be similar to the ‘Second Chances’ episodes as in Survivor.

          Cecil County Second Chance Survivors:
          ‘They survived and they’re back, ready to roll up their sleeves, get to work, and make something of this County. It’s decision time, baby!”

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