Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publication. The public hearing for Resolution 290 is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, at the Easton High School Auditorium.
The question of the “Talbot Boys” statue and issues concerning diversity created unusual contention among county council members at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The Talbot County Council considered two proposals concerning the monument and statue to Confederate soldiers on the courthouse grounds; two administrative resolutions regarding diversity; and a request to send a letter supporting federal legislation on police accountability and training.
Council President Corey Pack sought most of those measures, noting he had changed his mind on the statue, which he voted to retain four years ago.
Pack has proposed removing the statue but keeping its base, which names county residents who had served in the armed forces of the Confederate States of America — including some who moved to Talbot after the Civil War, also known as the War of the Rebellion.
Resolution 290 would require the removal of the Talbot Boys statue and would prohibit any statues depicting persons, signs, or symbols associated with military action on Talbot County property.
Councilman Pete Lesher joined Pack in introducing the resolution, but noted he would seek to amend it to include the removal of the base as well.
A public hearing on Resolution 290 is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, at the Easton High School auditorium.
Councilman Frank Divilio offered a different approach, one that was slated for discussion only on Tuesday night.
Divilio suggested a unity statue that would list the names of Union and rebel soldiers from Talbot County, with a statue depicting soldiers from each side.
His proposal is modeled after the Civil War monument in Chestertown, which lists the names of soldiers from both sides, and the state of Maryland monument at Gettysburg, which shows a wounded Union soldier and a wounded rebel soldier helping each other on the battlefield.
Pack also asked fellow council members to consider two administrative resolutions — one to require the development of a diversity statement to include in the county employee handbook and another to require a report from the county manager regarding diversity training for county employees.
Both resolutions refer to the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department and said Floyd’s death “has prompted important conversations across the country about racism and has galvanized support for concrete steps at all levels of government to promote police reform and greater cross-cultural sensitivity.”
No vote was taken Tuesday night on developing a diversity statement after Councilman Pete Lesher’s motion to move the resolution to a vote died for lack of a second.
The council voted 4-1, with Councilwoman Laura Price opposed, to require the diversity training report from the county manager.
A future report will provide additional details.