Franchot honors Dudley-Eshbach and SU; praises Rutherford

Schaefer Award Presentation 2015

State Comptroller Peter Franchot was in Salisbury on Tuesday, presenting awards and touting fiscal moderation.

Franchot gave the 2015 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Wicomico County to Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president of Salisbury University.

She was chosen, he said, for her commitment to the university and to higher education.

Eshbach was appointed the eighth president of Salisbury University in 2000, making her the first woman to hold that office. During that time, student enrollment increased 34 percent and SU has been nationally recognized for academic excellence.

Franchot honored the Salisbury Independent by giving Greg Bassett, editor, a proclamation recognizing the weekly newspaper for its one-year anniversary.

Speaking to the Independent, the comptroller praised Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford who is in favor of building schools for less money. A fine example, Franchot said, is the Monarch Global Academy, a public charter school for those in kindergarten to eighth grade, in Laurel, Md.

Perhaps the idea could be incorporated as a new West Salisbury School is planned, he said.

He said he and Rutherford like the idea of spending half as much for new schools by using steel instead of concrete, building to commercial standards and designing schools to last 50 years instead of 100.

Rutherford sat in for Gov. Larry Hogan at last week’s Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis. It was the first time the lieutenant governor and comptroller shared the spotlight on the state’s chief panel.

“I like Boyd Rutherford a lot. He is especially interested in getting the job done, but not by hitting taxpayers up with every bell and whistle that costs money,” Franchot said.

The Monarch school has 500 students who are being educated in a nice-looking structure with the same programs as other schools. “The Wicomico County school board should check out Monarch,” Franchot said.

The comptroller said he was “very upset” to learn Gov. Hogan was diagnosed with cancer. “All Marylanders are in his corner,” he said, calling Rutherford, who will fill in for Hogan when he isn’t capable of working “a secret weapon.”

“Hats off to Gov. Hogan for selecting him,” he said.

He praised Salisbury University for being “an economic powerhouse that puts half a billion dollars a year into the local economy.”

As he chatted with constituents at the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, a woman walked in saying a piece of tree bark flew into her eye as she was biking, and Franchot quickly went to her aid, looking closely at the eye.

“There is it. I see it,” he said about the speck of bark, directing her to the restroom to wash it.

“Salisbury,” he said, “is a very pleasant town. I’m glad to see the city and the county seem to be viewing themselves not as adversaries. They are working together.”

Also Tuesday, Franchot went to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, where he bestowed a proclamation honoring officers’ commitment to serve and protect. He presented Maryland Hero Medallions to Sheriff James Phillips Jr. and Capt. Michael Rickwood.

In Talbot County, he toured the first phase of the 24,500-square-foot University of Maryland Shore Medical Pavilion, at the former Cadmus building in Easton.

The facility offers residents of the five-county region greater access to multiple health care specialties and services in one central location.

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