To the Editor,
I am writing in response to the Sep. 13 news article, “St. Mary’s ‘looking for ways to diversify’ economy to lessen dependence on Navy.”
In whose hands is the responsibility for the county’s economic development and diversification? Is it in the hands of the county commissioners? Is it is the hands of the department of economic and community development? Or is it in the hands of so-called “power players [who] won’t talk openly about their plans,” as reported in the article?
The article is largely based upon an interview of St. Mary’s County Commissioner Todd Morgan (R). It reported: “An economic advisory group was created this spring, Morgan said … Morgan would not say who sat on the group, but said it consisted of Navy and county leaders, as well as some local business owners. There are about 15 to 20 members, he said, and the group has met about three times, with plans to meet again this month.”
A check of the Minutes of the meetings of the board of county commissioners does not show that the county government created an economic advisory group. So, who are these 15 to 20 people that are secretly meeting? To whom behind closed doors are they providing advice that may affect the economic welfare of the county?
I would guess that the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, of which Morgan is a past president, is at the heart of this clandestine group. At Morgan’s insistence the county government gave the Navy Alliance a sole source agreement and $75,000 to conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat analysis. The article reported that Glen Ives, president of the alliance “declined to share the county’s actual strengths and weaknesses, or a plan for moving forward. ‘I think we need to be careful how we publicly communicate that information,’ he said,” despite the fact that taxpayers have paid for that information.
Morgan said, “There are a lot of moving parts that the public doesn’t see.” Could it be that there is a lot that special interests do not want the public to see? Obviously, Morgan and these so-called “leaders” have decided what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.