Frederick will hire an outside firm to conduct an independent investigation of allegations against one of the city’s aldermen accused of inappropriate conduct with women.

The firm, which is still to be determined, will look into reports that Alderman Roger Wilson had inappropriate communications and interactions with women, Mayor Michael O’Connor announced in a statement Thursday.

On Dec. 26, Alderman Ben MacShane posted on Facebook that he had heard from several women that Wilson had engaged in unwelcome advances, coercion and other inappropriate behavior.

Wilson has strongly denied the charges, calling them “false” and “slanderous.”

Wilson, MacShane and other aldermen said this week that they would support an outside investigation into the claims.

Shortly after MacShane’s Facebook post, O’Connor released a statement calling the allegations against Wilson “very serious” and saying they “do not keep the values and standards of the City of Frederick.”

Wilson has criticized the statement as an attempt to deter his challenge to O’Connor in the 2021 mayor’s race. Wilson was planning to launch a mayoral campaign in January.

In his statement Thursday, O’Connor said, “While social media is not the forum I would have chosen to announce such allegations, any claim of impropriety of the nature described by Alderman MacShane is alarming and must be taken very seriously. My subsequent response was intended only to assure [the] public that I was aware of these assertions and they would be addressed.”

MacShane said Monday that legislation is being developed for future similar situations, should they arise.

O’Connor also said the city is developing a process to deal with allegations against officials going forward.

“Beyond the current situation, I am committed to establishing a process whereby any future allegations against the City of Frederick’s elected officials can be appropriately addressed,” he said. “As we are in the early stages of considering potential legislative or policy changes, we are receiving and evaluating advice from city staff as well as outside organizations such as the Maryland Municipal League. The adoption of any city ordinance or policy is ultimately the role of the Board of Alderman.”

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter:

@RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(73) comments

TomWheatley

I am sure Rep. Cox will take up the case. Also on the taxpayers dime, of course.

KellyAlzan

[lol]

KellyAlzan

Please refer to the subject as “MacSHAME” when referencing him in any FNP comments.

Thank you.

By Order of Kelly Q Alzan

Lead Commenter

threecents

Aren't you the same person who frequently complains about being called names? Was that tongue in cheek?...(Woops, I did not intend that to be sexual harassment).

KellyAlzan

Nope, Three. Keep up and pay attention.

The rules of the forum state no harassing of other commenters.

Elected officials are fair game.

Apples and grapes.

threecents

Way too many conspiracy theories for Board of Alderman and/or mayoral election.

lewisantq

I agree threecents. McShane is no ally of the Mayor and I suspect he has designs on the Mayor's office himself. Alderman Wilson would have no chance to beat the Mayor in a primary, so why would the Mayor conspire with McShane to block a non-factor like Wilson? None of these conspiracy theories make sense..Bob Lewis

petersamuel

The City has an Ethics Commission which is another established venue/process for MacShane type complaints. And it is staffed by volunteers

see https://www.cityoffrederickmd.gov/130/Ethics-Commission/

TomWheatley

Seems like a logical venue for the situation. Run by local volunteers/voters and as such, qualified to evaluate their elected officials.

HappySeller2014

Yes, I agree. Why are we spending Frederick City taxpayers dollars to hire an outside investigative entity???

KellyAlzan

Because MacSHAME panicked when he saw the backlash, and when he realized that he just increased Ba’lane’s opportunity to win mayor. So now MacSHAME is trying to look like the hero.

Too late. Too too late......

PurplePickles aka L&M

@happy

Did you ever stop to think that is what the “lawyers” have advised the city to do?

HappySeller2014

You can take advice or leave it Purple. Lawyers are a dime a dozen. I trust most lawyers no farther than I can throw a hay bale.

There are many other good options here besides spending your and my hard earned taxpayer dollars on outsiders to look into this. You seem fixated on using taxpayer dollars here Pickle. Why? Are you feeling white guilt?

threecents

Someone had suggested requesting guidance from the state attorney general's office.

HappySeller2014

Another good point. Us Frederick City taxpayers are quite smart!

KellyAlzan

States atty deals with crimes. For there to be a crime there have to be a victim. Just because someone writes something that may offend someone......doesn’t deem there to be a crime.

HappySeller2014

Slander (speaking), libel (writing) and sexual harassment are all crimes last time I checked. At least at the civil level, if not criminal.

I would get advice freely from anyone I could before I threw thousands of Frederick City taxpayer dollars down a wormhole. Shouldn't our elected officials feel the same way?

KellyAlzan

Slander and libel are civil matters.

Sexual harassment Isn’t a crime either. Civil matter? Possibly depending on the context. Unethical? Yes.

Burgessdr

So there is going to be an investigation. But wait, McShane said there was nothing that could be done and that is why he resorted to Facebook. Hmm. Something is fishy.

britt

The "Hit Job" is complete. MacShane did his sleazy job for the mayor through his shameful actions, posting unproven allegations on Facebook instead of handling it like a professional. Now, taking the "high road" and playing the protector of all, the mayor has announced what will be a long, drawn out investigation into the matter, costing God knows how much. It will be very difficult for Wilson to challenge O'Connor for mayor with this dragging out and hanging over his head. My guess is the investigation will conclude shortly after the Democratic primary for mayor, most likely clearing Wilson.

KellyAlzan

Look at the bright side - o’conner Just prevailed in not being re-elected.

No one wants ba’lane As mayor. But now thanks to MacSHAME was here’s a strong possibility at ba’Lane winning. People I. Elected positions can be so foolish with their actions

TomWheatley

As per my Jan 1 , 3 PM post. The investigation will have its desired outcome as typical for most paid for investigations and the results will be revealed shortly after the election because "the answer might influence the election and we can't have that".

girlinfrederick

Rumor has it that the city attorney nor the Ethics Committee was not contacted by MacShane prior to these allegations being posted on social media. Easy enough to confirm with a PIA request. If either or both of those are true, MacShane's & the Mayor's motives are clear. They knew Wilson is going to run and are willing to do whatever they need to do to ruin him.

Someone should also ask MacShane about the secret zoom "support group" meeting he organized last Monday, using his wife to to facilitate in her official capacity as a LCSW. Talk about conflict of interest and dirty politics.

britt

Maybe someone should investigate MacShane and his wife. Add it to the investigation $$. Not sure what his wife does ( sorry, not sure what LCSW means), but, secretly collecting information only adds to the sleaze of MacShane. I found it interesting that MacShane encouraged people with information or who may have been affected to contact HIM! Why him?? To gather more "dirt" on Wilson? Did he elect himself the lead investigator? DA? Judge? Jury?

I encourage the mayor to look into these secret meetings, if they occurred, determine any conflict of interest or conducting personal business on official time, and discipline the parties accordingly, if appropriate.

HappySeller2014

I do not trust the mayor here. He is knee deep in this, like McShane.

The FNP, local news outlets, government watchdogs and the Frederick City's Ethics Commission should be filing a flurry of FOIA requests Monday @ City Hall. So should Maryland State oversight entities.

McShane is simply casting a fishing net here, far and wide.

francesca_easa

Britt, Mr. McShane urging for anyone who may be affected to contact him directly, reminds me of those Kmart lawyers you see on TV. "If you got a phone, you got a lawyer". And in this case "If you got dirt, you've got a confidant".

HappySeller2014

The FNP should file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request under established Sunshine Laws @City Hall first thing Monday morning. Ask specifically who was contacted, who knew what and when, and entire written/paper and phone/computer trails. So should lawyers for Wilson and McShane.

HappySeller2014

This is how young, smart and aggressive investigative journalists can make names for themselves and jumpstart their careers. Or reenergize mid-careers. Just ask Woodward or Bernstein.

FNP, as they say down South, do your dogs hunt? Seems you have some unspoiled red meat here, with this story just breaking recently.

yogib

The best part of this O'conner\macshame fiasco, is that Frederick City gets to clean their house in 2021. At this point, Mr. Wilson looks like the best house cleaner than anyone else.

As usual, the FDCC is silent.

KellyAlzan

Has anyone seen anything that MacSHAME is claiming? Emails? Texts? FB posts? Anything to back up these allegations? Or is the board of alderman merely acting in MacSHAME’s word?

HappySeller2014

Would be nice to have SOMETHING before Frederick City pours thousands of taxpayer dollars down a wormhole by paying for outside investigative services.

What if this is all a hoax? Unless proven outherwise with some current facts, why should any Frederick City taxpayer believe what is written on FACEBOOK, and then be told his/her taxpayer dollars will be used to hire outsiders to look into?

francesca_easa

The fact that Mr. Wilson welcomes an investigation, tells me he has nothing to hide. Seems more a case of the mayor and an alderman are threatened by a highly effective and smarter coworker. This s**t happens all the time in the workplace.

KellyAlzan

This also happened at the FCSO under a former sheriff.

HappySeller2014

The US Congress is allowed to issue internal supoenas, investigate members, censure members and even expel its own members. It even has oversight over the US President. It is called self-policing. Work is done internally by House and Senate staffers.

Is this article telling me the City of Frederick cannot even function at the level of the US Congress, which is a trainwreck, but retains these internal investagatory powers?

Even the legislative bodies in Annapolis can undertake these actions in Maryland.

You gotta be kidding me. I am apalled that a 100% Democrat Mayor and City Board of Alderman can use taxpayer dollars to allow themselves to circle the wagons and "ready, shoot, aim" at each other, while hiring outside help. Incredulous here.

TomWheatley

Or there is one from the 'good old boys' days and they are using the opportunity to change it :)

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] HappySeller

C.D.Reid

This is just further evidence of the quagmire the Democrat Party has allowed itself to become.

threecents

You giving us more of the vast hypocrisy of the right? Can we not do this?

C.D.Reid

Just how is it being hypocritical pointing out the mess that the Democrat Party has allowed itself to become, three?

threecents

[thumbdown]

HappySeller2014

From January 12, 2019 FNP article...

"The federal poverty line is an income of $12,140 a year for a single household and $25,100 for a household of four. In 2012, 6,571 people in Frederick city and 13,091 in Frederick County were below the line. That number rose to 7,713 and 17,336 in 2017. The increase was greater than the overall level of growth in the area, too. In 2012, 5.7 percent of Frederick County residents were living in poverty. Today, 7.2 percent do."

COVID-19 in 2020 has unquestionably made these numbers worse.

And this is how Frederick City spends our taxpayer dollars? Hiring an outside investigatory firm for an internal Board of Alderman FACEBOOK controversy?

PurplePickles aka L&M

@happy

So what else would you have them do? I agree there are better ways to spend our tax dollars BUT Pandora’s box was opened with these allegations and it’s not going to be closed anytime soon, doesn’t Mr. Wilson deserve a chance to close Pandora’s box? Doesn’t Mr. Wilson deserve due process ? Or should he just turn the other cheek?

Haven’t African Americans turned their cheeks enough already?

Me I’m okay with my tax dollars going towards due process for Mr. Wilson and you should to, maybe try and see things through his eyes, I think you are being blinded by your privileged way of looking at things. Remember I’m keeping you honest.

HappySeller2014

Well Purple, this is what I would do instead of spending taxpayer dollars on an outside investigations firm...

Dueling was outlawed 250+ years ago. But WWE is all the rage now.

Set up a WWE cage at the Great Frederick Fair. Have Wilson and McShane go at it until one taps out.

Charge $5 a grandstand seat and $20 for a ringside seat. Maybe pay-per-view live stream it on FACEBOOK for couch potatoes.

Then, take gate receipts and add revenue from vendors for selling popcorn, peanuts and cotton candy.

You know Purple it would be well attended. Take the thousands of dollars in revenue received and spread it equitably among Frederick City charities and struggling Frederick City small buinesses.

NO taxpayer dollars involved. $s distributed to needy entities. A WIN-WIN. How's that for being honest? You gotta get off your white priviledge soapbox Purple.

francesca_easa

Love the idea Happy.

petersamuel

WWE wrestling eh? Looking at the respective physiques of the proposed contestants MacShane vs Wilson would be unfair to MacShane who has approximately 50% of the body mass and 30% of the muscle of Wilson. A fairer contest would be Wilson vs MacShane+O'Connor.

HappySeller2014

Thanks fran! And allow off-track betting on the circus and many charities and Frederick City struggling small businesses would get a nice infusion of needed $s.

How about over/under betting on number of minutes it would last? Over/under on number of punches missed, eyelash blinks by either party, or head fakes?

HappySeller2014

Good point Peter. But since McShane started it, I think it has to be Wilson vs. McShane only.

Back in the 1700s, duels were between two men. Not two on one. Here in 2021, WWE should continue following this rule, no?

PurplePickles aka L&M

@happy

I have to get off my white privilege soapbox. This whole fiasco is because of white privilege! Are you really that “white” you can’t see that? So no I don’t as a white person intend to get off my white privilege soapbox box!

As far as your other suggestions...it’s funny to see you flailing to come up with a logical solutions, which tells me you know the logical solution has already been reached.

HappySeller2014

And Purple, a PS...

If you do not like my WWE proposal, tell Frederuck City the two individuals involved need to take their issues to the court system, just like you and I would have to do as private citizens.

Not a single penny of yours, mine, or our neighbor's Frederick City taxpayer dollars should be going towards this. I wish ever time someone spoke ill of me I could run to the Frederick City Treasurers Office and ask for funds to hire outside investigatory resources, but I would be laughed out of downtown.

threecents

Happy, The investigation is not about Facebook. It is about allegations of sexual misconduct - which I think should be taken seriously.

HappySeller2014

Three, I agree, but keep my Frederick City taxpayer dollars out of it. And yours as well. I could care less if all this started on FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PORNHUB, buddy.

HappySeller2014

On cold, rainy, sleety evening like this the Frederick City mayor and members of the Board of Alderman should spend the night at the Heartly House or Frederick Rescue Mission.

Maybe this would open their eyes to other monetary options than sending logo funding to Jacksonville, FL or hiring an outside investigative firm to research what should be accomplished in house.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

threecents

[thumbdown]

HappySeller2014

YES, more Frederick City taxpayer dollars going to an outside source. Just like the constipated tail twisted in knots duck weathervane logo fiasco with Jacksonville, FL.

Just imagine if all these dollars were kept within Frederick City to help us and our neighbors with all of the local struggles we endure.

I bet the contactual dollars for this outside source could better be used to feed hungry Frederick City children. Or provide more funding to the shelters within Frederick City for the downtrodden or abused. Or help the hospital in some meaningful way. Or help all of the struggling local Frederick City restaurants or small businesses.

But NO, more taxpayer dollars just flying out the window.

TomWheatley

Add to that the time spent in selecting the outside source. At minimum, you gotta write up requirements, collect and evaluate bids, award it, and wait. If done as is typical for Gummermint, it will be well after the elections when the report comes back.

Is there no HR Department? Seems to be a committee for just about everything so this does not fit into one of the existing departments within the City?

Dwasserba

"O'Connor also said the city is developing a process to deal with allegations against officials going forward." There is no process in place. This will cost whenever it's addressed..

TomWheatley

250+ years of being a City and this is the first time this has happened as there is no process in place? Amazing.

KellyAlzan

Tom, and maybe just maybe it didn't happen.

Dwasserba

I doubt it's the "first" time Tom (below). First time taken seriously. Get it handled in the way least likely to rain down more s*** about who,what,when,where,why and end it. We can all gripe about the price but we voted them in to decide stuff. Don't like it, run for office.

TomWheatley

Just being insubordinate here :)

KellyAlzan

At ease

TomWheatley

Not in the City so did not vote for any of them.

threecents

No, there is no HR department for the aldermen.

pdl603

This is strange, why would the democrats be investigating one of their own? They could not have cared less when Tara Reid brought credible allegations.

gabrielshorn2013

apples and pears pdl603. This is a local issue, not national.

TomWheatley

More like American Pie and Sharknado.

pdl603

So, you are saying it is ok at a national level?

gabrielshorn2013

Hardly. However, these are different situations.

public-redux

pdl, When reality doesn’t align with your assumptions, it is time to re-examine your assumptions.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]Exactly, pdl603

threecents

[thumbdown]

threecents

Interesting response from Pdl, who believes is party loyalty over truth. Corruption is corruption, no matter the political party.

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