Harshman replacement process set in motion

By Ryan Miner

Now that Karen Harshman’s removal has created a vacancy on the Washington County Board of Education, a six-member committee will be tasked with recommending to the county commissioners a qualified, respectable and suitable replacement.

Karen Harshman set the bar incomparably low. Beyond picking Harshman herself to fill the vacant seat, I have confidence that the three names forwarded to the commissioners will be, at the very least, reasonable and upstanding.

I urge the nominating committee to ignore the Tea Party and the Republican Central Committee if they demand names like Linda Murray, a radical alt-right Trump Republican, and Robin Wivell, another alt-righter Bannon-type with an intellect that matches only the level of crazy seen during Spicer’s press conferences.

Like I wrote above, the bar was already set pretty low with Harshman, but Linda Murry and Robin Wivell are species of the same degenerative cabal. They shouldn’t be taken seriously.

I was pleased to learn that the Washington County school board voted unanimously today to name Pieter Bickford, the least politically sullied of the bunch, to the nominating commission. Bickford is a reasonable choice: He is fair, moderate, level-headed and honest – all the characteristic traits that both Harshman and Mike Guessford sorely lack.

Washington County’s state senators and delegates each get to chose one member to the nominating commission.

Essentially, this means that Neil Parrott, who once penned a letter to the Herald-Mail editor arguing on behalf of a policy that would mandate anybody with HIV to be tattooed as a reminder that Nazism is an enduring political philosophy, and Bill Wivell, Parrott’s best, good friend, would likely outweigh the input offered by the categorically more reasonable Brett Wilson and Mike McKay. I’m not worried about who George Edwards and Andy Serafini would appoint to the committee; they don’t subscribe to the same brand of crazy that consumes Neil Parrott.

According to the Herald-Mail’s CJ Lovelace,

In accordance with Maryland law, one of the commissioners’ three selections will represent the education community, along with one from the business community and one from the Citizens Advisory Council.

The group has 30 days from the date of Harshman’s removal to advertise the vacancy, hold a public hearing and choose up to three candidates to send to the five commissioners for appointment.

Once the names are received, the commissioners will have 15 days to fill the vacancy, fulfilling Harshman’s term that expires next year.

The following list of names should be considered by the six-member committee:

  • Without question, the most qualified and prepared candidates for the vacancy are none other than Al Martin and Donna Brightman. Even with Harshman gone, I cannot imagine Brightman would accept an appointment; but I would be remiss if I did not include her name in this article. 

    Other candidates who the committee should strongly consider:
  • Henry House
  • Peter Perini
  • Jeanne Forrester Singer
  • Gary Bockrath
  • Ken Buckler
  • Greg Murray
  • David Gysberts (seriously)

Had my good friend David Hanlin not moved to Salisbury, I would have placed his name at the very top of the list.

I urge members of the public to attend the public hearing. I know I’ll be there with the camera rolling. A school board vacancy isn’t a time to play politics. The commissioners have no choice but to get this decision right. The school system has grown tired of the Harshman saga. It’s time to move past Harshman and restore integrity to the school board.

Ryan Miner Administrator
Ryan Miner is the Editor in Chief, Founder, Senior Political Reporter and Publisher of A Miner Detail. He is the host of A Miner Detail Podcast.
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