To the editor: Our commissioners cite lack of capital when justifying their persistent inaction on the major issues facing Kent County, including schools, emergency services and transportation. They claim consistent flat revenues are not a fault of leadership but the result of factors beyond their control.
I personally have heard them blame everyone from the state, to our delegates, to the superintendent, to the Board of Education, to bad parenting, to Washington College, to our students, to our teachers, to social media, to taxes, to not enough EMS volunteers and firemen, to road maintenance, to retirees, to Support Our Schools, to property owners, to computers, to books, to baby boomers, to the hospital, to insurance companies, to people who were anti-Walmart, to bus drivers, to me personally, to expensive rents, to being next to Queen Anne's County, to FTS, to the Town of Chestertown, to their salaries, to county workers who deserve a raise but aren't getting one and then, finally, when all else fails, to each other. If you fall into any of those groups, know that your leaders blame you for our problems.
True leadership is ownership — accepting responsibility for ongoing problems that impact their constituents. I don’t expect my elected leaders to always have the answers, but I certainly expect them to be open to new ideas and alternate opinions.
From Dixon to KRM to Washington College, the county’s most significant employers have repeatedly pointed to improving schools as the best hope for turning our stagnating revenues around. In response, our commissioners have proclaimed that change is unnecessary, that they’re doing a great job — and then refuse to fully fund our schools.
But change is clearly necessary.
How many more families need to flee the county for better jobs and better-funded schools before our commissioners will choose action over complacency? How many more employees will be forced to work in Kent County while living elsewhere?
I am among a group of concerned parents who have invested our time and energy into advocating for our schools, lobbying our legislators, meeting with our commissioners, scrutinizing budgets and informing our fellow citizens. Our ideas have been met by our sitting commissioners with derision, insults, conspiracy theories and blame.
Change is beyond overdue. Fortunately, we now have an opportunity to demand new leadership. New ideas. A whole new day for our county.
The first step is electing people who admit there is work to be done.