Five horribly bad for county government charter amendments for Prince George’s County are now on the ballot in November. These amendments B, C, F, G, and H will mandate the beginnings of a committee partnership form of government. They will reduce efficiency, create confusion, and potentially redirect resources. The bad for county government amendments will quite possibly delay the purchase of vital resources and equipment as we put politics in the place of process and procedure.
And in addition, small and minority owned business will find an added layer of decision making to navigate, increasing the costs and, therefore, the likelihood that they will not undertake the challenge of negotiating with ten power centers instead of one. Adding to the cost will ultimately leave the competitive government contract field in the hands of those with the resources to build the coalition needed to secure the contracts. The resulting reduction in businesses interested in securing contracts is bad for county government and bad for the people of the county.
Quoting from the Dr. Richard Schragger in the Yale Law Journal, “… limited capacity to make effective policy reinforces the parochialism of its leaders…”. Dr. Scragger notes that attempts to limit the power of the executive can be construed as a distrust of pure democracy. There is a feeling among some power centers, in his words, “elites”, that strong leaders and the people who placed them in power need to be constrained. Today, the county is asked to begin restricting the power of the executive, which is bad for county government.
Many businesses large and small are run as corporations. In the matter of these bad for county government amendments comes my world view. As a businessman and a member of a board of directors, I see my role analogous to that of the county council. I approve budgets, not how and when paperclips and trucks are bought and used. I expect, in this worldview, to hold accountable the CEO, but not to micromanage. In the best of all possible worlds, the CEO would seek advice and work with his or her board, but in the end he or she alone is held accountable. Of course analogies like this are broad strokes and imperfect fits, subject to counter arguments, however, it is the view of a strong manager, in charge and accountable, which molds my opinion in this matter.
Great works of literature have come from a committee at least once in English history, but this very exception proves the rule. I am looking yet for examples from history of successful rule by committee. The original Confederation of States of which Maryland, and this county were part, is a failed example, well intentioned, of what happens with a weak executive form of government. We need to have faith that the voters will choose a leader wisely, and not place restraints on him or her a priori, because we think that the voters might make a mistake.
These amendments are bad for government. They are restrictions for future leaders and council as well as the present incumbents. But whatever the differences maybe today, they major players are term-limited, I for one feel that the voters of my proud county will do the right thing both when it comes to bill bad for government or elected quality leaders for the future. I do not fear the power
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].