Letter to the Editor: Gerald "Jerry" Clark on Susan Shaw’s remarks

Dear Editor,

In spite of my respect for her hard work as a County Commissioner (2002 – 2014), I was surprised to read Susan Shaw’s remarks concerning the selection of the new Deputy County Administrator in a recent Calvert Recorder article.  Shaw and I served together on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).  Her comments reflect very different memories than mine of our service as Commissioners to Calvert County.

Shaw questioned the county’s hiring practices for appointed employees stating: “When I was a county commissioner, we never did that, ever.” Perhaps she forgot that during her tenure she supported the hiring and appointment of several positions without advertising, including two county administrators, three department heads, a deputy director and a code enforcement officer.

She failed to state that contract employees are appointed by the BOCC and don’t require advertising. Contract employees serve “at will” and can be terminated at any time. Contract positions are risky because of this status. To excel, individuals must be strong leaders, experienced, dedicated and willing to make tough decisions.

In fact, the BOCC and county administrators encourage staff development to make certain staff is trained when positions are available. This encourages personnel to work at their best and achieve beyond what is expected.  At times, internal staff don't have the required background or may need more experience in local government to excel in a new position. When that occurs, the BOCC advertises to find and hire the best talent available. Additionally, appointed individuals are not “whimsically paid”, as Shaw stated. She knows that county employees are compensated based on the position they hold, the experience they possess, and within the pay range of their positions. 

What Shaw stated in last week’s article is eye-opening. She had ample opportunity in her 12 years as Commissioner to correct any hiring practices she thought were inappropriate. Instead, Shaw authorized the hiring of employees in the same manner this current BOCC has.

So why tell a different story? Good, old-fashioned, shameless, inaccurate mudslinging because she wanted the position of Deputy County Administrator.

As a State Delegate and Former County Commissioner, I want the public to know that Former Commissioner Shaw’s statements about the county’s hiring practices are incorrect. Your elected officials follow the County Code when it comes to personnel. The county’s employment practices are appropriate and legal.  For Shaw to say otherwise serves only one purpose, to humiliate all county employees that serve you.

Calvert County employees are among the best.  I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank all Calvert County employees for the hard work you do each day to serve the citizens.

-Delegate Gerald "Jerry" Clark (29C)
 Former Calvert County Commissioner, 2002 - 2014

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