Franchot awards Silver Hammer to C-SD

MD-Franchot awards Silver Hammer to C-SD_

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Comptroller Peter Franchot presents his Silver Hammer award to the maintenance staff at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School.

CAMBRIDGE — Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot visited Cambridge-South Dorchester High School on April 22, to deliver a high honor to the county’s largest high school. Speaking before a gathering of the maintenance staff of the school, and school system administrators, Comptroller Franchot presented the school with the comptroller’s office Silver Hammer Award, a recognition delivered for appreciation of the top-notch maintenance that is provided by the staff.

“This is a personal pleasure for me, I’m delighted to come down to Dorchester County,” said Comptroller Franchot. “This award that we give today is one of the most important awards in the entire state of Maryland. I want to thank Dr. Wagner for being the captain of the fleet, while Principal Bromwell is the captain of the ship; but you all are the shock-troops that we value but don’t recognize enough,” continued the Comptroller, speaking to the maintenance staff at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School.

“This award is a unique recognition, given by state government, and I think one of the most important awards we have. Why is it important? The fact of the matter is that we do not have enough money to build the kinds of schools we would like to build for our students and our teachers. The pile of money is just too limited. So thankfully we have schools like Cambridge-South Dorchester that are shining examples of schools that are innovating and solving problems in a time of limited budget by providing superior maintenance to our aging school facilities, and extending by decades the useful life of buildings that we would otherwise have to replace with new construction. That’s what the Silver Hammer Award is all about … it’s due to the hard work of school maintenance crews that this is made possible.

“So I’d just like to take a moment and recognize all the individuals who have ensured that Cambridge-South Dorchester High School is in tip top shape. I love each and every one of you, please give them a round of applause.”

The efforts of the C-SD maintenance crew is well recognized and documented, said the Comptroller, “ … by the ratings this school received by its most recent state inspection.” Mr. Franchot pointed out that the state inspection is not a casual affair conducted in an offhand way, but rather, “I’m talking about 37 different engineers where this school is given a full exam, and you came out rated higher than the system’s schools in Montgomery County, and you do it with almost no money. I don’t know how you do it — (it’s like) you make beautiful fabrics out of lint!”

“’Hard work!” shouts one of the maintenance crew circling Mr. Franchot at the podium.
“Yeah, hard work!” echoes Mr. Franchot to a loud round of applause.

“So I’m here to speak for Governor Hogan, Treasurer Kopp and myself on the board (of Public Works), we feel that we are exercising our fiduciary obligation to the taxpayers of the state by making sure our schools are safe, but we rely completely upon you for performing that responsibility. The taxpayers expect us to provide oversight of the public investments, and that we are using taxpayer’s dollars properly and as judiciously as possible.

“You folks standing in front of me, you’re the front lines. Pretty soon, we’re going to take you around to the other systems—the big ones, like Montgomery, and Prince Georges, and Baltimore County, and we’re going to ask you to just sit down with your peers and explain what it takes to preserve a school with superior maintenance.

“So I want to close by thanks Cambridge-South Dorchester for being a shining example for Dorchester County, and for other schools across the state, of what schools should do to have facilities that serve the needs of our students and our communities.”

The award was accepted by the maintenance staff, with smiles all around and evidence of high pride. “It’s very important that hard work and positive outcomes be recognized,” commented Dr. Henry Wagner, superintendent of Schools. “We appreciate that the comptroller takes the time and trouble to actually acknowledge our staff’s excellent work. We’re proud of how this facility and these grounds have been maintained. It adds to the longevity of our entire array or campuses and buildings, and it helps with their capital improvement plans short and long range.”

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at

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