Questions Surround Frederick County Board of Education Appointee
Frederick County last week named a candidate to fill the recent vacant seat on the Board of Education. Voters were surprised to learn the seat vacated from last November’s election could be served by Lois Jarman if her appointment is confirmed by the County Council next week. Ms. Jarman was not on the ballot last November for the Board of Education. She did not get the next highest vote count in the election. In fact, when Ms. Jarman last ran for the Board of Education in 2016 she left the race and was unsuccessful in her 2016 house of delegates race.
County Executive Jan Gardner advises she received applications from interested parties. How many applied only the County Executive knows. Parties we may never know who they were as the County Executive deemed this a personnel matter and therefore applicants have a right to privacy. Applicants who may be more qualified, applicants who bring more diversity of thought and who may have been vetted by voters in the recent election for the Board of Eductation. Voters do know one applicant. April Miller, who was the next highest vote count in the last election. Ms. Miller has already been serving on the county Board of Education for 8 years.
The County Council became aware of the new candidate selected only at the most recent meeting this week and only in a closed session. Surely, the Council members were given a summary of all the applicants before they conducted an interview of Ms. Jarman. Perhaps a resume so they could at least review Ms. Jarman’s qualifications?
What voters do know about Lois Jarman is how she described the conservative slate of Board of Education candidates on FC Local Yokel’s Facebook page on May 14th during primary season “We need to make sure the HERPies or the slate of hate does NOT make it to the general election. Let’s nip this in the bud in June.”
Voters who followed Lois Jarman on Facebook on her house of delegates campaign page on September 22, 2018 also heard her view points on running for the Board of Education. How she described another candidate as so hateful she dropped out of the race so other democrats could win. The candidate mentioned was Cindy Rose who was labeled as so full of hate she would destroy special education of which Ms. Rose has a child currently enrolled in and has advocated for special education for many years. Ms. Rose even lead the campaign to ensure all buses used for special education had air conditioning and in another campaign got a refusal policy and extended time for parents to review textbooks up for adoption lengthened to allow ample time for working parents to view new materials. Ms. Rose’s work over the years has helped many children and parents participate in local education.
Maryland Board of Elections records also show a February 3, 2018 donation to Lois Jarman’s campaign of $200.00 from County Executive Jan Gardner. A voter might question if that would not be considered a conflict of interest. Voters also might wonder how current employees of the Frederick County Public School System could vote on this appointment, since as part of the Board of Education Ms. Jarman would approve budgeting and salaries for members who are both current paid teachers with Frederick County Public Schools and County Council members.
Luckily, Frederick County has an ethics board to review any issues that arise in the County Council concerning our charter, but in a late Friday decision decided there was no issue on current FCPS employees who serve on the County Council voting on Lois Jarman’s confirmation. Frederick county maintains that FCPS are not county employees as they work for FCPS, although Frederick County funds FCPS. So as a county resident, property taxes fund the school system, but the employees of the school system are not accountable to county government. Surely, the state would feel differently as there should be accountability especially in education at the county level.
As a long-time democrat, Lois Jarman has done much for the county democrat party. One might say they owe Lois a great debt in dropping out of the 2016 Board of Education race to allow other democrats to increase their progressive democrat majority and work to ensure other conservative voices were silenced.
The county may never know who applied to fill the Board of Education seat, what their qualifications were, or what great ideas they could have put forth. Frederick county can though celebrate the great feminist victory and smashing of yet another glass ceiling. Jan Gardner in her final term as County Executive managed to show women can pull of the same back room deals men have made for 100s of years. Congrats ladies, move over good ole boys the good ole gals are making deals even you would be ashamed of.
Should anyone wish to comment on the lack of transparency and questionable appointment of Lois Jarman emails can be sent to County Executive Jan Gardner and all County Council members prior to the next County Council meeting January 15, 2019 where members will vote on Lois Jarman’s appointment. With the new democrat majority in place, and without public outcry Lois Jarman will become yet another progressive democrat on the Frederick County Board of Education.