In a last-minute maneuver before the end of their terms, county commissioners today appointed Commissioners President Blaine Young to five years on the Frederick County Planning Commission.
Young has acted as a commissioners liaison to the planning commission, with his service expected to end when he leaves office Dec. 1. However, during his final meeting as commissioners president, Young suddenly resigned his post on the planning commission. Seconds later, Commissioner Paul Smith moved to reappoint Young to the commission seat he had just vacated. For his new five-year term as a planning official, Young would be serving as a citizen rather than as a county commissioner, Smith said.
Three commissioners approved the decision, with Young stepping down from the board during the vote.
Commissioner David Gray cast the dissenting vote and objected that Young's appointment was coming without any public notice. The decision also undermines County Executive-elect Jan Gardner by taking away her chance to choose Young's replacement, Gray argued. Gardner, who appeared abruptly in the middle of the discussion, agreed with Gray.
"It is usurping the authority of the county executive," she said.
She said growth represented a significant factor in the recent county elections, and voters had expressed the need for a change. Putting Young back on the planning commission was in effect ignoring the wishes of the electorate, said Gardner, who beat Young in the race for county executive.
Smith contended that Young would bring a wealth of institutional knowledge to the planning commission and would be able to explain the growth decisions made under his administration.
Young's term is set to begin Nov. 30.