County Comment: An Interview with Kristin Aleshire
An Interview with Kristin Aleshire
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland
Kristin Aleshire, a first-term Washington County Commissioner is no stranger to local government, having served as Planner in the towns of Myersville and Middletown in Frederick County, then as City of Hagerstown Councilman, then returning to Myersville as Town Manager. Kristin was recently interviewed for the radio program/podcast "Commissioners Comment" and presented his ideas on a number of issues of importance to Washington County. A portion of that interview is reprinted here.
PIO: You recently took issue to some printed statements that suggested that the Board of County Commissioners does not respect preservation of the County's natural resources, in regards to a public safety communications tower planned for the southern portion of the county.
Aleshire: "We are certainly by no means the callous, run amok, absent Commissioners that some would purport us to be. We all are home-grown here, we're all natives of this community, all very invested in the betterment of lives for our citizens, and if there's anything associated with that issue that I take exception to, it's the implication that we're uncaring about the community that we live in, uncaring about the natural and historic resources that we have down there, and I think that's why we have taken adequate time, and are taking the process slowly to make sure that wherever this tower is placed, that it's done right. But trying to do that while at the same time trying to disseminate real information versus the misinformation that's out there is difficult. My goal, when I go into any setting, to make sure the public is adequately informed of the issues that we're dealing with on their behalf, is to provide that information, and hear and present both viewpoints, to have that real discussion with the 95% of folks that are reasonable, that do see the common sense in the issues."
PIO: The Funkstown Bridge project is getting underway, talk about that process and your interaction with it.
Aleshire: One thing that I don't think was done very well was for us, as a body, to really get out there and talk to the property owners ion both sides of the bridge that would be directly impacted. I found it difficult, we did have a meeting at Funkstown, I was at that meeting, we did have a meeting at E. Russell Hicks (Middle School), and one thing surrounding this issue that probably affected me most in this effort is, when you're trying to provide as much of the information as you have available to the public, in trying to find reasonable compromise for an otherwise unwieldy circumstance, that you simply have to deal with, you have to address, and you have to do it in the most economical manner for the taxpayers as a whole. I think that it was difficult for me to accept the real possibility that providing unreasonable concessions on this issue would make a compelling argument to provide those types of unreasonable concessions that would, very candidly, increase the cost of every public project we do"
The full content of the interview may be heard by accessing the Washington County web page, www.washco-md.net and linking to e-George On-line Services, then clicking on Blogs and Podcasts. The program can also be heard on iTunes by clicking on Podcasts>Government and Organizations>Local, then clicking on the eGeorge icon under Featured programs.