EASTON — The Talbot County Council advanced a resolution that seeks to remove the controversial Talbot Boys statue from its pedestal. A public hearing to discuss the Confederate monument’s fate is slated for Tuesday, July 28.
Council President Corey Pack during the council’s meeting Tuesday, June 23, introduced Resolution 290, which would prohibit statues depicting military figures on county grounds and require the Talbot Boys statue’s removal, with the exception of its base.
Pack said the county “has reached a time that the statue should be removed” and he doesn’t think the council should “waste any more time” discussing the contested monument.
”I do feel that it is time,” Pack said. “This county has reached a point where we have to say what we mean. The statue has become, to me, a source of distraction.”
Council Member Pete Lesher, who co-sponsored the resolution, said he plans to add an amendment that would require the removal of both the statue and its base. Lesher said he offered his support for the resolution as it’s currently written because its introduction will “give the public an opportunity to speak on this.”
”I’ve heard from many of you that you do want a voice on this,” he said to the public in attendance and listening at home. “You do want to be able to speak on this, and this will give an opportunity to do that. I believe that is the way forward.”
After a public hearing, Pack said, “Who knows? There may be a motion to remove the base all in itself ... and open up the space for an even more grand type of a monument to be done in remembrance of both Union and Confederate soldiers here in Talbot County.”
”I don’t know the answer to that,” the council president said. “I just know that right now, something needs to be done and this a step forwarding in doing that.”
While the council members seemed to unanimously agree that a change to the statue is warranted, Council Member Laura Price suggested the council should pump the breaks on its efforts to make a decision on the matter.
When Price began to launch into reading aloud her written statement during the meeting, Pack objected, saying that the council members had previously agreed to hold off on making lengthy comments until the public hearing in July.
The councilwoman said she was “highly offended” that Pack tried to prevent her from reading her statement during the resolution’s discussion, and the council president reluctantly conceded Price’s request.
In her five-minute reading of the statement, Price questioned whether the Talbot Boys statue is a “real issue” in the community or if calls for its removal are “an abrupt reaction to the chaos that is being fanned around the country.”
The term “chaos,” she said, was a reference to the protests that erupted following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
”Decisions must not be made based on the emotion of the day,” Price wrote in the statement. “We must take the time to listen to everyone and gather all the facts (again). Maybe this time is different, but I will take the time to make sure that we do that.”
”We should not be influenced by an angry national movement,” Price added.
The councilwoman ended her remarks saying she hoped the county could poll the public on its position concerning the statue’s fate — perhaps in November 2020 when people are casting their votes in the general election.
Following Price’s comments, Pack announced details of the public hearing scheduled for July regarding the monument’s future, and then he abruptly motioned that the council move on to its next agenda item.
The public hearing, which will be open to in-person comment only, is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, inside the Easton High School auditorium.