The Star Democrat
County Council votes to award bid for Talbot Boys removal
EASTON — The Talbot County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a motion awarding a contract to remove and relocate the Talbot Boys monument to Virginia, along with a provision giving flexibility to the council to review alternative local sites for the statue.
The vote followed over 35 minutes of heated debate between the council members, which primarily centered on requesting flexibility for the council to review possible alternative locations for the monument in Talbot County.
Strife surrounding the removal and relocation began after Council Member Frank Divilio’s Sept. 14 administrative resolution to remove the Talbot Boys statue from the county courthouse lawn passed 3-2, with only Council President Chuck Callahan and Council Member Laura Price holding out. After the measure passed, the county issued a request for proposals for the monument’s relocation. Stratified, Inc., a Washington-based firm, was the sole bidder for the RFP.
During the Nov. 23 meeting, county manager Clay Stamp requested to award the bid to Stratified for $67,000 — an amount that’s contingent on the project being fully funded by the Mid-Shore Community Foundation — to relocate the statue to the Cross Keys Battlefield in Harrisonburg, Virginia. No county funds are required for the bid.
Just after Callahan opened the floor for discussion on the award, Council Member Corey Pack immediately moved to award the bid to Stratified before the council discussion could begin — a move that Price strongly disagreed with after similar previous instances, saying she wanted to discuss flexibility and local possibilities. Divilio seconded Pack’s motion.
“There are people who would like it to stay in the county, and that needs to be given an opportunity,” Price said.
Council Vice President Pete Lesher motioned to amend the original motion, asking that County Manager Clay Stamp be granted the flexibility to present acceptable alternative locations to the council until Dec. 6 so that they can be reviewed by the council prior to the Dec. 14 meeting.
If alternate locations aren’t submitted to the county by Dec. 6, the proposal will move forward with the original plan to relocate the monument from the courthouse lawn to the Cross Keys Battlefield. The amendment will not delay removal of the statue, which is scheduled to take place in January.
Price said she would be willing to support Lesher’s amendment.
Divilio stated that he wasn’t interested in extending the deadline, saying that a later deadline wouldn’t make anyone with reservations about coming forward to share local alternate locations come forward any faster.
“I’m disappointed in the two that came in after the deadline,” Divilio said. “I feel that it was a bit disingenuous when individuals (said) there are locations and people that would take it without giving thought to their neighbors, their homeowners’ associations and the idea of it being in a private place with public accessibility at all times.”
Pack refused to amend his motion, saying it already included flexibility.
Price said that none of the council members wanted the monument to go to Virginia except for Divilio — a statement he refuted immediately, saying he didn’t want it to go, but had “yet to find anything better.” Price responded by saying to give locals a few weeks to come forward with other possibilities.
“There are a lot of advantages to the location that Mr. Divilio has identified, and that is why I’m ready to support this,” Lesher said. “I’m going to explore alternatives, but right now I’m skeptical that there’s one that will exceed the advantages of the one that is on the table.”
A vote for Lesher’s amendment to the motion initially failed 2-3, with only Price supporting him. However, Callahan clarified his position and changed his vote, prompting the passage of the amendment.
“I want to do what’s best for this county,” Callahan said. “We all know that it’s going to move, we all know that, that’s all.”
The council then unanimously voted to approve the amended motion, which awarded the bid to Stratified and provided flexibility for review of additional proposals for alternative locations. Proposals are due by Dec. 6 and will be considered at the Dec. 14 council meeting.