Letters to the Editor, March 20, 2019

Snooze . . . you lose!
I cannot comprehend — why some of our elected officials in Washington, D.C. (on both sides of the aisle) cannot foresee the many serious problems those caravans nearing our southern border will cause.
Especially, for those (legal) citizens residing in the areas.


What a difficult, and possibly dangerous confrontation could take place when the immigrants come Face-to-Face with military troops, and law enforcement officers.


Many may suffer some degree of injuries, and possibly some fatalities.
No side will have victory, and it will only be another DARK DAY in our American history.


Some learned mathematicians have calculated — if you divide the number of persons (young and older) living in our country into the $5.7 billion requested to construct a 765 mile WALL, it comes to about $16 per person.
Mister and Miss Elected Officials, isn’t this one time investment of $16 to protect each (and future) constituents’ families, their homes and properties, plus way of life worth the cost?


Maybe we should contact our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and make our opinion well known. BUILD THE WALL, NOW!
Respectfully,
Jack Lewis
Wood’s Edge, Hurlock


Meetings available
As you know, Cambridge City Council meetings are available to you over the internet on www.townhallstreams.com. You can watch those meetings as they occur or can watch them at any time as they are saved for later viewing.


Town Hall Streams provides this service to a number of communities. You can go to their website and click on the homepage where a city is shown. That brings up a list of cities that use the service, and you then go to Cambridge, MD and find the meeting you want to see.


Under our agreement with Town Hall Streams, we are allowed 4 showings/recordings of meetings every month. As our city council only uses 2 of them, I have asked that we also show/tape the meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission as both of these bodies do important work for the city and provide valuable information about important aspects of our community.


The plan is to have the service set up for these meetings by April at the latest. Once they are up and available, I will let you know but I wanted you to be aware of our continuing effort to make the working of our government as open, transparent, and helpful as possible.
All the best.
Steve Rideout
1st Ward Commissioner


Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Banner shortly after last week’s edition was completed. In the interest of informing our readers promptly of Dorchester County Council Member Lenny Pfeffer’s concerns and suggestions, we published it online last week.


EMS will respond
During a recent county council meeting, two citizens stood up and expressed concern about our county employees, especially our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers. I replied to them expressing my concern and told them we would be looking into this issue.

I assured them that if they called 911 with a medical issue, an ambulance would arrive. After that meeting, I was contacted by many more citizens with the same concern. That led me to act further.


In an effort to find the root of why so many employees were resigning, I had the thought of doing exit interviews with any county employee who submits a resignation. I also thought of contacting any employee who has resigned since January 1, and ask if they would like to provide some insight as well.


Just so you know, a single councilperson cannot issue a directive to the county manager, a department head or any county employee. We can request generic information individually, but not tell them to take action on any policy or procedure.

The county charter identifies that all department heads and employees take direction from the county manager. This only makes sense for any successful organization or business. Any employee should only have one supervisor to take direction from.


With that being said, I submitted a request to the acting county manager to request the council be polled to allow exit interviews be conducted with those employees who had resigned. She promptly contacted all council members by phone, which is an allowable method to gain an answer on items mostly of administrative information when a council meeting is not within a few days.

The next day she contacted me stating the council voted not to conduct exit interviews by a 3 to 2 vote. This was very disappointing. How can we correct a problem when we don’t have the facts?

Our county staff is advising me that this is an issue they have seen in the past, that these issues run in cycles which often follow a newly elected council, or new appointments in department heads. I can understand that to a point. It still does not stop me from being concerned about the safety of our citizens and our employees.


It has come to my attention that our county EMS workers, especially our Advanced Life Support providers, are being forced to work mandatory 12-hour shifts, beyond their normal 24-hour shift. Sometimes they don’t get told until a few minutes before they are scheduled to get off work. Having been a career firefighter and emergency medical technician, I understand the occasional instance when your oncoming worker gets sick and no one can be found. But this situation is happening continuously and is getting worse each month.


So are the mandatory 36-hour shifts the reason we are losing people? Is it the pay? The benefits? I don’t know and that is why I wanted exit interviews. Taking all of this into consideration, I am asking that any county employee who has submitted a letter of resignation since I took office in December, 2018, feel free to voluntarily submit a letter of explanation to me at lpfeffer@council.docogonet.com.


I do not want and will not take into consideration anonymous letters, but will promise my discretion as to the facts that you present. I am looking for constructive criticism of your department and your position.

Please help me bring to light ways we can recruit and retain quality employees. Please also give me a simple one or two sentence reason for your resignation that I can share with your permission, without my using your name.


Our county employees are our most valuable asset. They will burn out and break down just like our equipment if we don’t take care of them. Please help me to understand why this is happening, so we can make Dorchester County the place our employees retire from, not resign!

Lenny Pfeffer
Dorchester County Council Member (District 4)
Cambridge

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