The Frederick Board of Aldermen will inevitably welcome at least three new members after the November general election with an announcement Thursday that Alderman Phil Dacey will not seek re-election.
Dacey, the board’s only sitting Republican, said he is instead “exploring the possibility” of running for an at-large County Council seat in 2018.
“What’s driving me towards the county is really just seeing the level of dysfunction at the county level between the county executive and the County Council,” Dacey said Thursday. “Frankly, it’s almost at the level of embarrassing, to me, at the level of the county. I think I can help bring stability and reasonable leadership.”
Dacey added that he thinks the sitting county elected officials, whom he did not name, lack the ability to make things better for county residents.
“I see a lot of personal ambition and a lot of grudges and backstabbing between the County Council and the citizens,” he said. “I don’t think that’s best for our county. It doesn’t put the best foot forward for Frederick.”
Dacey said he will decide in the coming weeks whether he will file to run for County Council. If he does throw his hat in the ring, he will do so on the Republican ticket.
Several months ago, he opened a campaign finance account with the Maryland State Board of Elections, which would allow him to run for a state or county office in 2018. He said Thursday he had not decided for sure he would not run for re-election in the city until recently, though.
“I wanted to keep my options open, for sure,” he said. “But I think I have made a difference where I can in Frederick city.”
A first-term alderman, Dacey received the third-highest number of votes of five candidates in the 2013 general election. He is the only Republican on the board. And although only one Republican has filed to run with a little more than a week left before the filing deadline, he said he is not concerned about the potential of leaving his party unrepresented on the board.
“Everybody seems to work well together,” he said of the current aldermen. “I think largely the county should function that way. Largely, the issues the county and the city have to deal with are real issues. They’re not necessarily partisan.”
As alderman, Dacey said he is proud he was able to work on and vote for measures that include reducing taxes by phasing out the business personal property tax and the manufacturing tax credit, funding a year-round homeless shelter, starting the Westside Regional Park at Hargett Farm, and investing in road infrastructure projects such as Monocacy Boulevard and Christophers Crossing. He also pointed out that he was one of the only aldermen who voted against raising water and sewer rates in the city for the past three years.
As of Thursday, 10 candidates had filed to run for alderman in the Sept. 12 primary election. Of them, nine are Democrats and one is a Republican. The filing deadline is July 3 for both Republican and Democratic candidates as well as all unaffiliated candidates, including independents and those of other parties. The general election is set for Nov. 7.
Dacey’s announcement that he will not seek re-election creates three open seats on the five-member board. Alderman Josh Bokee has also said he will not seek re-election, and Alderman Michael O’Connor is running for mayor.
Alderwomen Donna Kuzemchak and Kelly Russell have both filed for re-election.
All seven County Council seats and the county executive will appear on the 2018 ballot. The 2018 primary election is set June 26, 2018, and the general election is Nov. 6, 2018. The candidate filing deadline for all seats is Feb. 27, 2018.
Councilmen Bud Otis and Billy Shreve are the two sitting at-large County Council members.