Disputes strain relationships between Delauter, town officials

Kirby Delauter

A series of spats over construction work has bruised Kirby Delauter’s relationships with town leaders, losing him the support of two mayors and a town commissioner in the council district he is striving to win.

In tense email exchanges with Thurmont officials, Delauter has threatened the mayor with legal action, demanded public apologies for a slight to his construction company and excoriated a town employee for being as “arrogant as an old lady waiting on chicken.” Writing from his Frederick County commissioner email account, Delauter also suggested that town leadership eliminate the employee’s position and hand the duties over to a private contractor.

Work performed by Delauter’s construction company on Myersville’s sewer pipes also created tension with the town mayor, who felt Delauter exhibited a lack of respect and a bullying attitude.

Republican leaders in Myersville and Thurmont were among the four municipal officials who recently announced they were crossing party lines to endorse Delauter’s Democratic opponent for election to the District 5 council seat.

The run-ins with Delauter aren’t the only reasons the municipal officials are supporting Mark Long. Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, who voted for Delauter four years ago, said he doesn’t believe the county commissioner has been an effective advocate for the northern part of the county. Myersville Mayor Wayne Creadick said Delauter has been notably absent from community functions and town meetings over the past four years.

However, these municipal leaders said their sour interactions with Delauter shed light on a temperament they believe is problematic in a public official.

“I think one of the things to look for in people who govern our community are people who can be levelheaded and not have a short fuse that goes off in an instant,” Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird said.

Though Delauter has spoken as a business owner during most of his run-ins with town leaders, his temper has also flared several times in his role as commissioner. In 2012, he stormed out of a hearing after a county employee interrupted and disagreed with him. On another occasion, a commissioners meeting was adjourned amid a blow-up between Delauter and a resident who had challenged his integrity.

Delauter says he hasn’t lashed out in anger at town leaders but has simply defended his business reputation against unfair attacks and done his best to cope with senseless town bureaucracy.

And many town leaders in County Council District 5 are standing behind Delauter. The Republican council candidate has picked up endorsements from Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs, Thurmont Commissioner Martin Burns and Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler.

Burns, former mayor of Thurmont, said he supports Delauter as a fiscal conservative who followed through on his promises from the 2010 commissioner campaign. Lack of polish is no reason to vote against someone whose policies are solid, Burns added.

“I more than any other politician have put my foot in my mouth,” he said. “But it’s not about whether you like somebody or don’t like somebody. ... It’s where you stand on the issues. Kirby Delauter hands-down stands with me on the issues.”

Thurmont construction project

Municipal leaders who are opposing Delauter believe his actions as a businessman speak to his fitness for public office.

In one case involving Thurmont, a threat of legal action against Kinnaird erupted from a disagreement over how the town was handling a project to build a new Advance Auto Parts store.

A land transfer necessary for the project was getting bogged down because, under local zoning law, an existing structure was too close to the new property line. However, project partners argued they couldn’t remove the building until they acquired the property. One of the people involved in the construction effort wrote to Delauter at his county address in late January, calling the situation a “Catch-22.”

Delauter asked county staff to look into the situation and indicated he would “appreciate the Town’s assistance in moving this project along,” according to an email sent by the commissioner’s assistant. The new auto business would bring jobs and tax revenue to Thurmont, the message explained.

Delauter then followed up with a February email from his county account castigating the town’s zoning and utility inspector for an obstructionist attitude. Kinnaird believes the comments were improper, but in a phone interview, Delauter maintained that the post is unnecessary to the town.

During the email exchange, obtained by The Frederick News-Post through a public information request, Delauter wrote that the employee “has never been helpful to anyone. I’ve lived that scenario and he can be as arrogant as an old lady waiting on chicken at the buffet line.”

“My next comment will be that of a taxpayer, not an elected official. I would take the zoning administrator position and eliminate it. ... Not one person (well maybe one) would miss the zoning person mentioned above. In my opinion, they have milked the taxpayer long enough,” he later continued.

Then, in late March, Delauter’s company applied for permission to demolish the old structures to make way for the auto parts store.

At an April town meeting, Kinnaird noted that Delauter had landed the contract to tear down the buildings and said he found it strange considering the commissioner had pressed town leaders to move along the Advance Auto Parts project.

“I think it’s just very coincidental ... that he would inquire about that and then have the actual job himself,” Kinnaird said during the meeting.

Kinnaird acknowledged, however, that he didn’t know if Delauter had the demolition contract when he was corresponding with town leaders about the project.

Delauter condemned Kinnaird’s comments as slander, saying the statements implied that he had used his position as county commissioner to benefit his business. W.F. Delauter & Son was not yet involved in the project when Delauter urged the town to work with the construction partners and was asked to bid on the demolition weeks after his February emails.

“You don’t drag somebody through the mud in a public meeting when you don’t have the facts,” said Delauter, who notified Kinnaird that he could face a legal backlash for making the statements.

Delauter asked for a public apology by email and also in person during a town meeting about a week later. Kinnaird’s no-comment response has prompted Delauter to label him a coward, although he has not filed a lawsuit against the mayor.

Myersville sewer line replacement

Myersville’s mayor, Creadick, also argues that Delauter’s actions as a businessman raise concerns about his leadership ability.

Delauter’s company was contracted to replace a sewer line as part of work to construct a new gas compressor station in Myersville, and problems with town officials started almost as soon as work began in mid-July.

For instance, officials couldn’t get the contractors to provide a timeline for the construction and sensed that Delauter was brushing off their efforts to safeguard the town’s main water and sewer lines, Creadick added. Emails to Delauter show the town also believed the company had trespassed on private property and damaged stream banks.

The Myersville officials expressed concern that heavy construction equipment driving over soft soils might damage the town’s sewer line, and in response, Delauter wrote that “we will not be responsible for any damage to your line due to soft soils.”

Later, amid mounting frustration about the inability to coordinate meetings between the town manager and company representatives, Delauter wrote that “I’ve done everything but drive him to the site and buy donuts.”

Delauter says he tried to make time to talk with town officials, but they were being unreasonable, in one instance providing only 15 minutes’ notice of a site meeting. He said he believes town officials were delaying progress because of their general displeasure with the compressor station project.

Ultimately, Creadick said he had to issue a cease-and-desist order until the company addressed the town’s questions. Throughout the experience, Creadick said he felt Delauter disregarded rules and failed to take responsibility for his employees.

“He never showed me the respect that I thought I deserved as a mayor,” Creadick said.

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(44) comments

disneynut

It's about time FNP did their job. Better late than never, as the old saying goes. These thugs need to be voted out.

bukweet

yup - only problem is the info is sooooooooo late in coming, some folks who haven't been paying close attention, or privi to inside info from reliable sources, had to make a decision in absentee or early voting WITHOUT this information from the paper.

please remain vigilant, FNP, and do your job EVERY DAY!

Oscarpot14

Well, well what do we have here? Those of blind allegiance call it a "timed hit piece'. Detractors/ undecided voters are (FINALY !) given info that they may not have been fully aware of regarding "The Lordship of Commissioner Excellence!" A humble man-YOU commissioner- are NOT-sad, sad, sad!
You got our votes the 1st time- there will be no 2nd time granted for many of us. Your behavior has shown that you do NOT have the temperance for public office. Comments that you have made on the radio and in print support that you are quite vindictive and have "scores to settle" with public officials who have gotten your ire.
The nursing home "fire sale" is yet just another example-YOU ALL gave it away (no real chance at letting it prove its self and rushing the process equaled a bargain basement price for Aurora-NOT fiscally prudent !)
For the undecided/ independent voters out there-please thing long and hard about letting more of this arrogant school yard thuggery continue in YOUR local government.

bukweet

well put. thank you for speaking out!

fourstoogesandthatotherguy_the

Curly Delauter doesn't want to be talked to or treated like a punk, yet he acts like one.

FrederickTwinMom

Votes for developers while he has a construction company - conflict of interest!! I sent him an email months ago and received the most unprofessional reply. Kirby is even worse than Blaine. At least Blaine can fake his concern. I'm willing to cross party lines against Kirby!

DickD

And I think you will have plenty of company. In local politics performance is more important than partisanship.

BstD59

Thank you, Bethany, for a well researched and presented investigated article. I know there are other candidates whose actions also deserve to be investigated and I hope you are making the effort to do so. There are many who feel as I do. There are back deals being made, there may even be crimes that have been committed by government officials and the only way they will be exposed is through thorough investigating and publishing of findings. This is what is expected of a newspaper whether it be large or small and I hope the FNP will continue to investigate and report its findings.

bukweet

[thumbup] [thumbup] [thumbup]

elymus43

Hopefully after this election, Kirby will be spending all his time with his construction company.

bukweet

or in a courtroom defending the indefensible...

newspostreader

I laugh that Burn's is quoted saying "Lack of polish is no reason to vote against someone whose policies are solid"

If you are going to run for public office, you need to have both solid policies and polish. Inappropriate behavior and threats are not okay. Marty, make sure you watch how quickly Kirby leaves office, so you can be more prepared when your term is up, because you'll be going too!

jerseygrl42

no room for bullying people when you are supposed to be serving them and if we had a real ethics commission there would be no govt work for kirby while he is "working " in govt ...that is truly outrageous...its good to see honest officials call out his kind of behavior

richardlyons

My favorite quotation from Kirby applies to him; "You're a moron".

threecents

For me it was calling a Thurmont official as "arrogant as an old lady waiting on chicken.” Where does a sentiment like that come from? It's awesome.

public-redux

Agreed on its awesomeness.

What I especially love about it is the lack of any clear meaning. Are old ladies who wait on chicken especially arrogant? Are they less arrogant if they're waiting on pork chops? Are they more arrogant than small business owners waiting on decisions?

Extra Ignored

No hits on Google so it's an original. Delauter must have gotten into a competition with an old lady while waiting for chicken and knowing he was obviously first in everything this made the old lady arrogant to think she would get chicken before he did.

DickD

Surprise! Shock! FNP finally did a great job of investigating and reporting. What they did in Brunswick was a travesty. Ellen Bartlett was easily the worse speaker, out of sync, etc. and they played her up as being great. It was terrible, which is the reason I am so surprised and shocked at this one.

Getting to this one, Kirby Delauter should have just blown any chance he has of being elected. With all of the Republicans going against him, he is in trouble. But he did it to himself! He could have been reasonable and cordial, he was not. It is part of the Blaine gang bullying tactics, which have been on display in Urbana - development, Monrovia - development, the shooting range, etc.

It will really shock me if voters elect Kirby!

Good luck Mark!

bukweet

i agree, DickD. congrats to Bethany and the FNP for actually writing an article that folks will be eager to read - and informing the readers is what the newspaper business is all about!

i hope this is a lesson the the FNP - if you will continue with this type of ACTUAL reporting, your readership will increase. folks do really want to know - the truth!

tjmaher

Just when I was getting ready to cancel my subscription, FINALLY an investigation piece in the Frederick News Post!!! I couldn't be happier than to vote for Mark Long. Delauter has DONE nothing for the resident of Frederick except to disregard them at public meetings. ESPECIALLY, where construction was concerned and it could keep his pockets lined with gold. Enjoyed how he put a spin on the town of Myersville and were are just UPSET with that we have the compressor station. YES, there is some truth in that, but the really truth is Delauter's company messed-up the sewer and than refused to correct the situation. The e-mail exchange is public record!!!

stevemckay

Excellent story Bethany. Thorough with a sense of balance and well written. Compelling read all the way thru

public-redux

A while back there was at least one commenter (and there may have been an LTE, iirc) who was (were) exercised over BOCC member allegedly using "prestige of office" to advance a private interest.

I look forward to hearing from him/her/them again.

bukweet

i believe that was patrick (allen) who posts under his own name.

he's filed ethics complaints against the current bocc (excluding David Gray), and has also made them public online. you can find his 19 page ethics complaint filed early in 2014 online, and if you look around his scribid page, you can find additional docs. on the same subject.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/207567447/FredCo-Ethics-Violations-Complaint

this is the same ethics complaint the county atty's office took 90 days to review, and then said they wouldn't touch it!!

the county atty's office did allow a vote by the bocc to see if they wanted to 'vote for funds to send for review to an outside law firm (note: they were REQUIRED to refer it to an outside firm by statute, or to the MD State Atty General . why? because most of the counts (5 or 6) involved charges, with supporting evidence of criminal misconduct -included in the complaint ) but blaine and his stooges voted NO to send it out. that little tidbit was revealed by Budd Otis in a FNP article after they interviewed him as an at-large candidate!

that is a clear violation of the bocc's own ordinance and proceedures rules, but nobody, including the county atty's can read, evidently. this also constitutes obstruction of justice.

let's just wait a bit longer & see what the feds will do about it. time will tell, blaine, kiry, billy and paul. bye bye on Nov. 30th, the last day in office for the 4 of you.

bukweet

kirby continues to demonstrate his despicable outbursts prove to the residents and voters of the county that he's not fit for public service.

FINALLY the FNP reports on what kirb's really been up to in recent months>

i hope this reporting delay isn't too late for voters to send him packing from winchester hall. absentee ballots have already been mailed, and early voting began last fhursday, FNP...

yogib

Congratulations Bethany. You are now getting closer to being a good journalist. By doing this, you may upset your buddy Blaine.

But hey, we all need to do our jobs and a good journalist reports the facts.

specialk

Nobody even accused Delauter of being a class act. He and BY go hand and hand.

KellyAlzan

Also, the larger dirt moving companies in the frederick area are hurting. Many excavating companies from PA are landing contracts in frederick. The site work for the apts atbthenold Prospect school property - was done by a PA company.

RF Kline is no longer in business. Severe financial problems and was bought out by Pleasant.

Yarnell Wastler is no longer in business.

And I know of others that are struggling.

It's sounding like Kirbie's company is hurting for money. Desperately trying to get contracts, and refusing to fix problems of work he has done. these are signs of a company having financial problems.

kimberlymellon

Republican State Senator David Brinkley endorses Democrat Mark Long for County Council District 5

Thurmont, MD -- Mark Long (D), candidate for County Council District 5, has earned the backing of Senator David Brinkley (R). Brinkley, one of Maryland's most respected Republican leaders, currently serves as Senate Minority Leader in the Maryland Legislature.

Brinkley stated, "Mark Long and I had several conversations about his County Council candidacy. I've had conversations with several other business and municipal leaders in the district I trust. Mark will be available at community gatherings in all parts of the district and he will do his homework before making a decision. He will be an independent voice, regardless of which candidate is elected County Executive"

Senator Brinkley joins numerous elected officials from north county who strongly support Mark Long's candidacy. They include County Commissioner David Gray (R); Walkersville Burgess, Ralph Whitmore (R); Thurmont Mayor, John Kinnaird (R); Myersville Mayor, Wayne Creadick (R); Emmitsburg Commissioner, Glenn Blanchard (D) and Thurmont Commissioner, Wayne Hooper.

Ralph Whitmore expressed the sentiment of the other elected officials, “I’m endorsing Mark Long for County Council because he’s made it clear that he will listen to everyone in our community and address our needs, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent."

The widespread support from both Republican and Democratic elected officials gives more momentum to Mark Long’s campaign.

“I am truly grateful for the outpouring of bipartisan support my campaign has received from elected officials from across Northern Frederick County,” said Long. “As a member of the the County Council, I promise to remain committed to getting the job done by respecting and listening to the citizens from our community regardless of any party label.”


Mark Long for Frederick County Council
District 5

FrederickFan

I too am shocked, in a good way, to see the FNP actually publish an investigative piece that informs the public and improves our community.

Exposing the truth about one of his flying monkeys is nice.

But until they stop bending over backwards to support, enable, and hide the truth about the Wicked Witch of the West, Oz will remain miserably underserved by its local newspaper.

armillary

Govern like a subcontractor today!

threecents

Tell me again which emails you wrote when you were wearing your commissioner pants and which you wrote while wearing your businessman pants.

Extra Ignored

...from your county email account. Misappropriating public resources for private use?

threecents

My point is that he claims he can separate his public and private selves. He does not understand what constitutes a conflict of interest. When you are a public official, you should aviod even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

b1sellers

He doesn't care. He believes the rules are for others.

matts853

Smiley Delauter - one thug of a guy!

KellyAlzan

Kirby is running a company that he did not build. He has never had to do any brunt work in his life. He never has to learn how to speak to / work with / appreciate customers/people.

doreenmcgill

"Republican leaders in Myersville and Thurmont were among the four municipal officials who recently announced they were crossing party lines to endorse Delauter's Democratic opponent for election to the District 5 Council seat."
"These municipal leaders said their sour interactions with Delauter shed light on a temperament they believe is problematic in a public official."

Mr Delauter is unfit for public office by virtue of his own actions. The clear choice for all voters in District 5 is Mark Long.

Excellent reporting, Ms. Rodgers and FNP!

b1sellers

Such a petty little mean man-child.

armillary

Kirby's chock full of bluster and bray
and threats if you dare disobey
if his lawyers enjoin
there's two sides to the coin
but it's money to him either way.

BlueDawn666

Wow FNP I am like totally shocked at this article who would of thought you were capable, but I wonder what happened ? This is so unlike you, but you can probably see your gravy train ending as well so why not.

This was the best part of all:

Republican leaders in Myersville and Thurmont were among the four municipal officials who recently announced they were crossing party lines to endorse Delauter’s Democratic opponent for election to the District 5 council seat.

all the rest we all knew..thank you for finally catching up... [wink][wink][wink]

FrederickVeteran

Why is Kirby always angry?

fourstoogesandthatotherguy_the

Curly Delauter acts like a punk.

kimberlymellon

Best FNP Investigative Report of the Year! [thumbup]

FrederickFan

Yeah.

Meanwhile, they are publishing graduation pictures of his boss.

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