Let’s check in with the Franklin County Commissioners – including books in the Coyle Library

May 30 – The Franklin County Commissioners will meet tomorrow at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 272 North Second Street, but before that there is a Key Concepts committee meeting today. 

Key Concepts is a committee that meets to discuss ideas submitted by the staff and employees with suggestions on how to save money. 

Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery said, “We have eight submissions for ideas. That’s be an hour or two hour meeting. We’ll dig into them and see if we can save the taxpayers here in Franklin County a couple of dollars.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “This was as a result of you and I talking. It started with why can’t we have a suggestion box? That turns into the Key Concepts. As I understand it, we’ve already figured out ways in which to save the taxpayers money and resources.” 

Flannery said, “This is one of my favorite meetings. Great meeting, great committee we put together. Good, passionate people that really care.” 

At the commissioners meeting tomorrow, there are five board actions, including two grant approvals, two adult probation items and one tax service bid approval. 

Flannery said, “I encourage people to come out and voice your opinion during public comment.” 

Now is a good time for a review of how the year is going – it’s actually a good time to adjust or pivot as needed. 

Flannery said, “We review our budget quarterly. We’ll have one of those coming up probably here in June. Each department does their own breakout sessions, has their own discussions and if there’s anything that’s off budget, then it’s brought in front of the commissioners and we review that during our quarterly meetings. At this point as far as county operations go, everything’s looking pretty good right now.” 

The Franklin County Housing Authority had a resignation recently and the board will meet in two weeks. 

Flannery said, “Hopefully we have one applicant to replace that person. The Housing Authority is a beast here in Franklin County. There’s two communities, one here in Chambersburg and one in Waynesboro. It’s a very large program and it’s tough to get your arms around. As of right now, it’s stable, but I think we have a lot of room to improve there.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Part of the problem is that HUD is a group that doesn’t seem to have any one source of oversight. It’s sort of divided responsibility, which makes it tough and allows sometimes things to happen organically within the organization that’s not getting good oversight and good response in terms of if someone wants to be irresponsible, it’s a little bit difficult to have oversight over that and that’s what you’re trying to accomplish.” 

“We are,” Flannery agreed. “I think we’ve made significant ground this year. I think things are under control within the Authority, but there’s still work to do. There is accountability.” 

When a book called “The Hips on the Drag Queen go Swish Swish Swish” was discovered in the Coyle Free Library, Flannery was contacted. 

He said, “It’s a really sticky situation because we do have a library tax here in Franklin County. I would assume that most of my constituents would not want to support that book being in the children’s section of the library, so that holds some clout.” 

Jansen said, “It’s just a common sense approach if there’s a problem somebody has, there’s a way to procedurally look at this book and decide what are the benefits, what are the negative sides of it and should this be something that community standards would support?” 

Flannery said, “I have a 2-year-old granddaughter. I can bet you for sure I don’t want her walking through that library and picking up that book. There’s enough confusion for a 2-year-old growing up in today’s world to have to see that and Mommy and Daddy have to explain that to them. When you’re in a public library, you don’t assume that a child’s going to walk around and be able to grab that book.” 

Jansen said, “It makes sense to look at certain material and decide whether or not this could be harmful to the community. It’s fair enough to look at this and decide. You can still get this book. Anybody who wants it, we’re not saying it should never be sold anywhere. What we’re saying is by community standards do we see this as potentially harmful to children. I think there’s actually enough research and evidence out there to say that adult themes, trying to put that into kids’ minds is psychological disturbing to them.” 

“It’s disturbing to me,” Flannery noted. 

Jansen continued, “The author of this particular book, if you see why he wants this kind of material out, you might be a little surprised. He is a drag queen. He’s also a professor and he has very distinct ideas about belief systems that he thinks are good for children that I think you can fairly argue are not objectively good for children. That’s why this is a concerning book.” 

Flannery said, “That’s fine, but let’s keep it out of the toddler section of the library. Come on, guys. Common sense.” 

Ryan added, “Take very clear evidence of the great defenders of this book. Why? Why is this the hill?” 

Jansen said, “Not everybody agrees with queer living, which is exactly what this author says they’re promoting with this book, for their child. There’s fair arguments against it. It’s not trying to censor anybody. It’s trying to say you don’t blanket expose a whole community of children to something that could be harmful.”

Ryan said, “Drag queens for 1 year olds. Why? Why is that so important?”

Jansen suggested, “To confuse them on gender.” 

Flannery said, “It’s a step to indoctrinate our community. That’s just the way it is. That’s what’s going on right now.” 

Jansen said, “The author doesn’t really mince words about it. They say that’s what they’re trying to do.” 

Ryan said, “We’ll watch the process.”

“I will keep you updated,” Flannery assured.