The Worcester County Commissioners made the right call this week when they approved a salary restructuring plan aimed at reducing the turnover within its departments.
Over the last year, the county has been experiencing significant vacancies in its entry-level positions because the wages for similar jobs in the private sector have exceeded the county’s rate. This is not uncommon. It’s a cyclical thing that comes and goes with the economy. With the private industry’s outlook improving over the last year, companies are looking to hire at higher pay than the government offers. It appears locally they are having luck snagging government employees looking for a higher hourly wage.
What the county approved this week if all the jobs are filled quickly will cost about $290,000, which will be covered with savings seen as a result of retirements and payroll changes. It’s not a huge increase, but it’s a win-win and smart business for last month’s 3-3 stalemate to become a 5-2 approval.
A harsh editorial in The Baltimore Sun this week took Ocean City to task over its concern with the view created by wind turbines.
“In Ocean City, there’s a boardwalk “odditorium” with authentic shrunken heads, two-headed animals and a fake shark plunging through the second floor,” the editorial read. “Down the street, there are two dead malls and surf shops selling t-shirts with obscene logos, and there’s even been a major legal battle over topless sunbathing. Amid all this, members of the Ocean City Council were focused this week on the possibility that planned off-shore wind turbines might be visible, under certain weather conditions, from the beach, and that they would absolutely devastate the resort’s ability to attract tourists. We kid you not.”
It continues, “Shouldn’t the economic impact — estimated to be as much as $16 billion in Maryland alone — count for something? And shouldn’t Ocean City embrace the prospect of clean, renewable energy that might address climate change and its rising sea levels and worsening storms that threaten coastal communities? To worry about a proverbial molehill on the distant horizon while greenhouse gas emissions may bring the next high tide to your doorstep seems a little absurd. What’s next, a ban on freighters if they can be seen from the beach? Fishing boats? Whale pods?”
While I admire strong positions on matters, I admit to growing tired of seeing The Sun continually deride Ocean City in an elitist fashion while not getting the facts straight. The paper maybe carries a half dozen news articles – not the summer fluff dribble – on Ocean City in a calendar year. That’s at least partially why the editorial blasting the city is contextually inaccurate and off base. It seems to me the editorial board could save some of the sarcasm and belittling of our small town elected officials for the decision makers in their own city, which is annually ranked among the most dangerous cities to live in and visit in America. That would seem to be a better use of the dwindling print space available in that daily paper.
In the event of a state of emergency declared and schools being closed as a result, it has been the case for many years those days would not have to be made up by local school systems.
It was learned this week that’s no longer the case and it’s an unknown consequence from the governor’s post-Labor Day school start mandate. Winter Storm Grayson closed Wicomico County public schools for five days last month. Since three cancellation days were built into the school calendar, the school system sought a waiver for the remaining two days. It was wrongly assumed it would be granted since a state of emergency was issued for the two requested days.
“The first two days of that storm the governor did declare a state of emergency in the three lower shore counties,” Hanlin told the county’s school board at its January meeting. “Some of the public understand or believe that those days are automatically excused. They are not automatically excused. We have to ask for those days to be excused.”
Therefore, students in Wicomico will be in school on Presidents Day as well as during a planned March professional day.
What’s it mean for Worcester students? We will learn soon.