|Originally published November 09, 2012
Frederick News Post
By Bethany Rodgers
|The commissioner is a dying breed in Frederick County.
But no tears were shed at Thursday's commissioners meeting by those now occupying the soon-to-be-extinct roles. In fact, at the mention of the Election Day success of a Frederick County charter, Commissioners President Blaine Young broke out in a grin and started clapping.
When the charter takes effect in 2014, the Board of County Commissioners will give way to an executive and a seven-person council, and it will be about time, in Young's opinion.
"The five-headed monster was slain," he said, speaking about the current system led by five commissioners. "This will be the last Board of County Commissioners in the history of Frederick County."
On the other hand, Commissioner Paul Smith wasn't jumping for joy about the election outcome.
He said he wants to see the new system of government succeed, but has some concerns that it will give rise to an overly powerful county executive and a weak council. In the lead-up to the switch, candidates as part of their campaigns for the newly created offices should present their plans to improve the charter, he said.
Commissioner Billy Shreve also rejoiced that the governmental switch was approved Tuesday. When they were running for office, sitting commissioners had promised to assemble a charter-writing group, and they kept their word, he said.
The Frederick County charter proposal succeeded by a wide margin, with about 62 percent of voters for it and 38 percent against, according to unofficial election results.
Commissioners appointed the nine members of the charter-writing board in March 2011, and the group spent about a year and a half crafting the document. Young said the commissioners might issue a proclamation thanking the board for its work.
Young hopes all of the officials now in office will work to equip a new county executive when he or she prepares to take office in two years, he said.
Problems with the charter government might surface as it gets up and running, but Young said the complete picture is yet to be determined.
"You don't know until it's put in place," he said.