2014 brought a seismic change to Frederick County politics, as the county's transition to charter government became complete with the election of the first County Council and of Jan Gardner as the first county executive.

Gardner defeated Republican Blaine Young, president of the county's last Board of County Commissioners, in the race for the county executive spot.

"The voters have created a new structure, but the men and women up here will create the substance," former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski told the crowd assembled at the Weinberg Center for Gardner's and the council's swearing in.

Voters approved the move to charter government, replacing the five-member board of commissioners with the seven-member council format with five district members and two elected at-large.

Supporters of the change argued that it would increase Frederick County's prominence and influence in the state.

With the change, Frederick joined Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's Talbot, and Wicomico counties and the city of Baltimore as charter government counties.

Gardner and Young sparred over school funding and the pace of development in the county with development rights and responsibilities agreements signed by developers and the commissioners during Young's tenure, in a heated county executive race.

The first Frederick County Council consisted of Republicans Bud Otis, Billy Shreve, Kirby Delauter, and Tony Chmelik, and Democrats M.C. Keegan-Ayer, Jerry Donald, and Jessica Fitzwater.

The group faced problems with infighting, and struggled to get things done.

Otis beat Shreve for the first council president post, capturing the votes of the three Democrats on the panel.

Otis then voted with the Democrats to make Keegan-Ayer vice president, again defeating Shreve.

A new council was elected in 2018, with Keegan-Ayer, Donald, and Fitzwater maintaining their seats.

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.

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