The board honored two county employees at Tuesday’s Calvert County Commissioner’s meeting.

With over 1,200 employees in county government, The Employee Recognition Committee recognized 10-year employee Lisa Viverette, Human Resources Analyst II as the 2022 Employee of the Year.

Virtual training are now an option for the Calvert County Sheriff’s office because of its hard work of Viverette.

Once a staple at the County Administrator’s office, Viverette assisted in designing the NEOGov, a public sector HR software and management program to serve the Calvert County Sheriff’s office better, enabling staff to attend training programs without the travel to Nanjemoy. Viverette is diligent in her analyst position and has quiet confidence, which is part of why she was nominated for employee of the year.

“Webster doesn’t have enough words [complimentary],” Commissioner Mike Hart said. “I’m a better person knowing Lisa Viverette. There’s not a department out here that wouldn’t fight to have her. She’s so humble. She would never nominate herself. I just truly can’t say how valuable you were to me when I first started.”

An employee of the month, Brenda Sipe, Bus and van driver for the Department of Transportation, was also honored for going above and beyond the call of duty for over seven years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“She never complains, has a smile on her face. She’s a stellar employee,” – Sandy Wobbleton, public transportation division chief said.

“When people were afraid to even go outside and they were washing down everything, our buses had to keep running and we’re thankful we had you, someone that they say never complained.” Commissioner Hart stated.

Sign Regulations presented by the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance.

Electronic Message Signs were discussed within the Prince Frederick Town Center.

Hart mentioned the pushback in year’s past about inappropriate wording and the fact that content can not be regulated at this time.

“I don’t like to be the one to tell anyone what to do and its not my job to correct bad behavior,” Hart stated. “Political signs are the worst and they’re all over the place.”

Commissioner President Earl F. Hance reflected on past conversations and Prince Frederick looking like a Vegas strip. State highway doesn’t work on the weekends so signs are going up on Friday nights and taken down on Sunday, which Hance wanted to reiterate was illegal.

A review with the county attorney is underway.

Board of Education Budget

An unscheduled meeting will be held this Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the Brookes Administration building in Prince Frederick to condition the discussion of the fiscal year 2024 proposed budget.

Twenty-five Calvert County public schools and 24 jurisdictions in the state of Maryland are currently working to reach a fiscally responsible budget.

Grasso grilling Dr. Townsel on the BOE proposed budget

“The more communication we have, the better,” Hance said. “We will work through this process. We have a fiscal responsibility here. This is a historical budget.”

The proposed school budget for 2024 is $9,987,100.00 while the nation is facing a 40-year high inflation rate.

“We want to insure every young person has the opportunity to be successful.” School Superintendent, Dr. Andrae’ Townsel said.

Calvert’s 10th grade English students are ranked No. 1 in the state at this time, while 8th grade English students are ranked fourth. The 6th grade math students are now ranked 5th in the state according to Townsel.

Commissioner Catherine Grasso was the first to question the budget planning.

“Why are we still funding a virtual academy?” Grasso asked. “The pandemic is over.

“Why would anyone want to fund this [virtual academy]? What are the reasons parents would want to deprive their kids of the social interaction.”

Townsel followed up with stating that some parents feel it is still a need for their child. It is still an option in the state of Maryland.

Each school in Calvert County has a COVID-19 Resources link on their website for information regarding COVID standards.

The Calvert County Health Department is still tracking positive COVID-19 cases.


Just since March 1, 2023, one week; 13 schools in the state of Maryland have reported positive COVID-19 cases affecting 75 students.

Just Sunday Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health stated in an article with News Nation, “Here in the United States, there are more than 2,000 deaths per week and 20,000 to 30,000 people hospitalized at any time.”

Grasso also asked about the code of conduct.

“What happens when a child hits a teacher?”

Townsel stated that the range is from in-school suspension, a home suspension and then permanent discharge from school.

“O’ we’re still suspending them? Grasso stated. “Our teachers are not feeling safe in the classrooms. We hear this all the time.”

Townsel stated that he’s been in each of the Calvert County schools and have listened to the thoughts and concerns of teachers and staff.   

“I’m confident that we have a phenomenal school system. We will have over 15,000 students,” Townsel said.

“Because of the talent and engaged parents, we can be the top school district in the state of Maryland. By the grace of God, over time we’re going to be fine in two, three years.” Townsel said.

Commissioner Mark Cox mentioned a call that came his way. A parent mentioned that her child was ‘scared’ during lunch. Cox asked if bathrooms were being locked during lunch [to keep behavioral issues at bay].

$860,000 is being requested for behavioral staff.

Commissioner Todd Ireland asked about safety advocates being present daily verses having the playbook [system]. Townsel stated both were needed.

The ‘Playbook’ incorporates speakers that virtually motivate students throughout the school year.

“I would never do anything to misuse taxpayers money and will do the research needed,” Townsel stated. “Because someone was able to find me at 16 years old and make a difference in me, I have hopes that we can reach back and help another teenager.”

Pay increases

Starting July 1, 2026, there is to be a $60,000 minimum salary for teachers. Currently the starting salary in Calvert County is near $53,000 for teachers.

Calvert County must offer full day pre-K for four-year old students beginning in September 2023. The projected class size is 19 students but could range to 23-25.

“We are identifying space for the pre-K classrooms,” Townsel said. “We’re looking at how many births we have had in the county to plan ahead. Our team is working on it.”

Two bus routes were added last year and there will be a 45 percent increase in the budget going further for transportation.

The board of education is seeking 2.6 million cost for fiscal year 2024 for new computers and technology upgrades.

There will also be a $4.2 million cost increase for employee benefits. The total wage and salary increase going into next year will be $14.1 million.

Townsel stated that Calvert high school and Patuxent high school would be adding assistant principals. New hires for this upcoming year are 20-22 grant funded two-year positions.

“We need a safety resource officer at every middle school,” Townsel said.

The board of education will continue to receive questions and comments until March 16, 2023.

“The goal is to be as open and transparent as possible. We are very aware of how hard this is for our county. Written comments are still being accepted.

Grasso asked about funding for special education students.

“We certainly don’t want to leave them out.” Grasso said.

College of Southern Maryland, Defining the future

Current President, Dr. Yolanda Wilson, presented the annual State of the College.

“My intent is on listening and learning at this point,” Wilson said. “It has been a wonderful 60 days.”

Layering certification is an option for adults employed, and Workforce credentials is being presented at the state level.

Wilson stated that skilled trades are needed and necessary.

“It’s not the same industry that it was years ago,” Wilson said.

“Thank you. We look forward to working with you and welcome you.” Hance said.

During public comment, Joseph Cormier commented via telephone from the students and adults with developmental disabilities.

“Thank you for recognizing Meals on Wheels, bus drivers such as the one honored today, and mentioning those with special needs in the board of education budget.

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