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From the Desk of
County Commissioner Kirby Delauter

(7/2012) You may have recently read about the infamous Swinging Bridge project in Frederick City last week. The Frederick News Post claims that I "slammed" the City for their decision to have in house staff rebuild the historic bridge. My intent was not to "slam" anyone, just bring to light the comparison between the public and private sector when comparing what appears to be apples and oranges in a case such as this.

I have several issues with the City DPW doing the renovation of the bridge, the following are some quotes from the article in the FNP, I will explain why I raise an eyebrow when I read this nonsense.

1.Marc Stachowski, deputy director of public works, said the city cut costs by asking city employees to work on the project when they weren't busy with something else.

2. "It's not taking an amenity really out of service," Stachowski said Tuesday. "I think there are some people who will criticize us for doing the work in-house, but I think the fact of the matter is it maximizes not only our equipment by putting it to use so it doesn't sit on the yard and rust from not being used, but it maximizes our employees' skills and their time."

3. Stachowski said city employees and officials learned a lot about the bridge by tearing it down and rebuilding it, which he said will be helpful when making repairs.

Quote number 1.

It states that the City workers could work on the project when they weren't busy with something else. It took them over a year to complete this project. No company in the private sector could operate this way, just let employees hang out and do work at their leisure. My biggest issue with this is that a private company would have had a time line to complete the project, complete with liquidated damages if the timeline were not met. Not our beloved city workers, they get to do the work at their leisure. This is absolute nonsense.

Quote number 2.

States that the City DPW maximizes the equipment by putting it to use so it doesn't rust from not being used. Does anyone else see the complete lack of leadership in this statement? I could never see anyone in the private sector making this statement. If you have equipment in the private sector that is rusting from non-use, you sell it, you don't find some feel good project to use it on so you can justify its existence. In my business, as well as many other local business owners I've spoken to, we have sold assets, laid off employees and done whatever necessary to survive in today's business world. The stark contrast of the City of Frederick's make work at any cost attitude vs the private sector's survive at any cost attitude tells the tale of where we are today as a nation.

Quote number 3.

In quote number 2 Mr. Stachowski states that renovating this bridge "maximizes" the City DPW worker's skills, yet in quote #3, he states that the city employees learned a lot while tearing he bridge down to rebuild it? You can't have it both ways Marc, either you maximize your employees "expertise" or they " learn a lot" while performing a project.

The whole point I wanted to make on this issue is that the private sector is under a totally separate set of rules and regulations than the public sector. The public sector was set up for "core services", not feel good projects that keep equipment they shouldn't even own from rusting due to non - use.

As you saw in the photo from the FNP, the City workers have no fear of OSHA, they have no timeline to complete a project, and they have no inspection from the very department that makes a private company's life a living hell while doing work in their jurisdiction. A private company's price is higher because we're held to a higher standard.

I stated before that I spoke to Mayor Randy McClement about the City starting a bagel shop. (The Mayor used to own Market Street bagel and Deli). I asked him if he would have an issue with the City opening up shop, paying $20/ hr, giving a defined benefit retirement plan, paid holidays, paid health insurance, 4 weeks vacation, sick days, comp days, fair day, and city taxpayer funded cars for deliveries all for a City taxpayer funded bagel shop? They could sell their bagels for half the cost of his because it's taxpayer subsidized, (kind of like Frederick County Transit). How could Mr. McClement compete with that? Truth is……he couldn't. The sad thing is, I don't think he understood my point that day several years ago, and today, he still doesn't understand it. Pretty sad, for an intelligent man that actually ran a business.

In a closing note......It is much easer to go along to get along, could I have ignored the article and acted as though the bridge project was a mere dream come true for the taxpayer? Yes I could, but I was elected by people that wanted a fiscal change, they asked for responsible government. Responsible government comes with a price, a price of leftist ideologues that come after your character and your livelihood, they use whatever means necessary to break your spirit. The one thing they didn't count on was a majority on this board of County Commissioners that will not tell our kids, the next generation, that we gave up, that we became part of the problem. I refuse to negotiate when it comes to upholding the principles that will guarantee my kids a better opportunity at life, and it starts with pointing out the inefficiencies of City staff performing this project. It’s just the tip of the iceberg in showing the fifty year incremental growth of government.


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