Congratulations to Frederick Mayor Randy McClement.

On Aug. 4, he made a very public act.

He broke a stalemate on the city’s Board of Aldermen and voted against a proposal that would have given historic status to the brick building at 1781 N. Market St., the old Ebert’s Dairy building that is now home to Monocacy Brewing Co.

If the “historic overlay” had been approved, the brewery would have to submit to the Historic Preservation Commission any proposed changes to the building’s exterior.

Now, there are plenty of arguments on both sides of historic preservation. A certain amount of preservation is needed to preserve the buildings in the downtown historic district, which is one of the chief reasons Frederick is a charming and architecturally coherent magnet for visitors and residents alike.

The old red-brick industrial buildings dotted around downtown, on the east and north side of town also have some attractiveness and uniqueness to them and remind us all of Frederick’s industrial past. Some of that is worth preserving.

But putting historic overlays on every old building can go too far and could deter renovation and rehabilitation, depending on the individual building. The brewery does have a handsome facade, and that might be worth preserving.

But what we liked about the vote most was that the mayor acted, publicly. He took a leadership role.

Fancy that. It doesn’t happen very often, and we wish he would do more of it, honestly.

Now, true to Mayor McClement’s style, he didn’t actually make a public comment when he cast his tie-breaking vote. 

That is classic McClement. He doesn’t wield a big stick. He speaks softly. He lets his city staff take the lead on most matters and rarely weighs in publicly.

We’re fighting hard our temptation to use the “leading from behind” phrase that Republicans have used as an unfair cudgel against President Barack Obama ever since the U.S. adventure in Libya.

But McClement’s style does remind us of that stereotype. He never seems to be out front on an issue, even though he may be active behind the scenes. We think he needs to be more out in front on issues.

Part of the job of being a leader — whether county executive, mayor or governor — is you have to be willing to take the brickbats from naysayers, earn a few bruises from being out in the public arena, take your hits and show people you can move beyond them.

We wish the mayor would do this on the proposed downtown hotel project, for example. He has largely left it up to his economic development director, Richard Griffin, to take all the heat from opponents of that project. Or he has left the explanation of the need for the project to its coalition of proponents — the Downtown Frederick Partnership, the Tourism Council, the Frederick Chamber of Commerce or the editorial pages of this newspaper, which is owned by members of the Randall family, some of whom also own the parcel on which the hotel might one day be built.

Now, before people start to squawk that we’re only writing this because we have a financial interest in the hotel project, grow up. This family would support such a project regardless of whether it owned the property or not. All of the Randalls believe that developing downtown in a proper way is good for the city and for the county.

But why can’t Mayor McClement be out front on the hotel project, or any number of other issues? The blight downtown, the Hargett Farm regional park and how to pay for it, are a couple that spring to mind.

These are major issues, and people want to know that their leader, the guy they elected, is in there getting his hands dirty, fighting for what he wants and for what the city needs. Part of leadership is being the public face of the city. Sure, you won’t win every battle, but people will respect you more, even if you lose a few rounds, and live to fight another day.

This story has been updated. The previous version incorrectly stated that McClement declined to answer when asked by a reporter after the meeting to explain his vote. The reporter did not approach him for comment after the meeting.

 

(34) comments

bosco

Please, Mr. Editor, give us some fresh editorials.

sofanna

Enough is enough. If FNP doesn't have something else to print, leave the space blank.
Same with the I270 Gridlock editorial.

Traderarb99

Please Mr. Fnp...post a new article !

tonyc51

EDITORS: WELL PAST TIME FOR A NEW EDITORIAL ON THIS PAGE, DON'T YOU THINK?

Dwasserba

Always leave 'em wanting more.

KellyAlzan

Mr editor. Practice. What. You. Preach. And start doing your job. 2 editorials in the last 2 months. Hope you're ok.

bosco

Please, Mr. Editor, can we have a new editorial?

Dwasserba

This one can go in the can. Done "squawking."

KellyAlzan

To the Randall family and Plamanoon family :

My business was not handed down to me. I did all the footwork it took to get where we're at today.

I have not asked for any money from mommy, daddy, or tax payers.

Who in the Randall and plamandoon families can say that?

I don't have to grow up. I have been grown up from the start.

And I do not want Any monies from the state, county, city, subsidizing this proposed hotel. Any questions??

bicep42

FNP is very free with taxpayers' money, particularly if it involves unloading a toxic building they own downtown at 3X market value. People are paying close attention to this debacle. Disregard them and insult our collective intelligence at your own risk.

gary4books

I would never doubt your IQ, but facts help me more in evaluating the hotel project. Otherwise I might doubt your conclusions.

garden whimsey

So, if we have an opinion that doesn't match yours WE have to "grow up"? Perhaps it is you, the petulant, rich kid that needs to consider growing up. I pay over $200 a year for my hardcopy subscription to the FNP and may think long and hard about renewing unless some degree of apology isn't forthcoming from the person who wrote this insulting editorial. His tone & words put me in mind of a certain presidential candidate.

Near New Market

He's an excellent Mayor - I had the pleasure of seeing him speak in an extemporaneous fashion at a professional luncheon and I said to myself "This is what we want in elected officials". He's unassuming, polite, smart and works hard at his job. Unlike the person who wrote this childish editorial. Frederick is lucky to have a citizen mayor like this man, he makes others of our elected officials look like the power hungry children they are. Randy's plenty "Grown Up."

gary4books

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DickD

Not living in Frederick it makes little difference to me what Randy does or does not do.. except if he were to take State and County taxes for the Randall/Plamondon boondoggle.

KellyAlzan

👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

des21

"Grow up!?". Really?mm insulting the few remaining subscribers in a dying industry..... Hmmm, interesting business model Randalls! Very bold. Asinine but bold.

DeDeuceCoupe32

Most of the business owners commenting display 2 sets of standards when it comes to Gov. funding. Playing the victim when their not on the receiving end allows one to blend in with the crowd.

benhem612

He is a Mayor... his job is to manage the day to day affairs of the city. Sure he could be more vocal if he supports the hotel project but demanding he jump out in front of every issue and waste his time with press conferences instead of doing his job is silly. The hotel is a delicate topic and I don't blame him for diving headfirst with full throated vocal support into a project with ever shifting priorities and budget requirements.

rbtdt5

He was a business man, he understands the benefits of this project.

BlueDawn666

I guess Randy, the FNP wants you to fight a tad harder for the downtown hotel project, you know cheerlead for them...guess you aren't being vocal enough for them. Me I think you are realizing how you have been played into being a puppet for the project.

Dwasserba

I resent being told to grow up. And basically you are asking our mayor to change his personality (rude). But it fills the space. Thanks.

MrHitshed

I think that Mayor McClement has been doing a great job. The form of government for Frederick is unusual, so the Mayor seldom votes. But he is always at work, doing his best to listen to concerns and figure out how to solve problems.

The best indicator of his success is that after six years in office, he's made enough tough decisions to accumulate detractors and critics. But notice that they all fault him for the positions he's taken and what he's done. No one can legitimately say that he's not in the game. Every day.

Being the mayor is tough. Everyone thinks they can do the job better. The truth is that few can. He is sensible, fair and down to earth. He is not burdened by an overgrown ego like so many other politicians are. If you really disagree with him, drop by his office when he is scheduled to listen to anyone who comes in. You may be surprised at how substantial his knowledge and talents are.

For those of you who hide behind your screen names and only fling insults and accusations, I challenge you to show that you have the guts to engage in meaningful civil discourse.

richardlyons

I do not agree with your assessment of Mayor Randy and I do not "hide behind my screen name." He has done little except maintain the status quo, taken away city bulk trash pickup, supported a misguided downtown hotel project. I don't know if he's in the game every day or not, but I believe the city can do better, Mr. Hitshed (or whatever your name is)

richardlyons

"...grow up." Really FNP, is that the best you can do. The substantial financial interest the Randall family has in the hotel project, deserves better coverage than this sophomoric editorial. Your "there's nothing behind the curtain" approach rings hollow. So from a 25 year subscriber, "Grow up."

rbtdt5

Randy has publicly shared his views on the Hotel project.

jerseygrl42

Nice try, it only took a couple of paragraphs to segue from Ebert's dairy to your boondoggle that will cost the taxpayers well more than $50 Million, to put yet more millions into the pockets of the Randall and Plamondon families...you need to take some of your tart advice to those who see through this travesty in the making and grow up yourself....and I don't know who the devil you think you are speaking to your readership in this manner while hiding from the truth ....and while I'm at it why have you not spoken about the arsenic that is laced on this property you are trying to sell to the people of Frederick and who will foot the bill for that abatement???This is a shameless piece which seems to be getting more commonplace by the day. Despite your efforts the truth will out!

KellyAlzan

This is why it's been since July 28 that's there's been an editorial.

They been carefully and I mean carefully writing this article, revising, writing, revising, wanting to really make sure they hit a home run.

Truth be told - it's a swing and a miss

Dwasserba

Huh! And I was thinking this was kind of slapdash. They won't endorse any candidates but they'll tell longtime subscribers (35 years for me) to grow up. I am still thinking zombies are behind that curtain while the brains vacation. I'm ok with diversity.

gary4books

So you want the fact, or the truth? Wikipedia says "Arsenic comprises about 1.5 ppm (0.00015%) of the Earth's crust, and is the 53rd most abundant element. Typical background concentrations are as follows: Air

BlueDawn666

We wish the mayor would do this on the proposed downtown hotel project, so do we the taxpayers lead from the front....

He has largely left it up to his economic development director, Richard Griffin, to take all the heat from opponents of that project. Yeah I can't decide whose puppet Randy is maybe Ron Young's and Richard is Randy's puppet I would suppose, cause it appears that way.
I would also like to hear why Randy supports this Boondoogle? EXACTLY WHY?

Or he has left the explanation of the need for the project to its coalition of proponents — the Downtown Frederick Partnership, the Tourism Council, the Frederick Chamber of Commerce or the editorial pages of this newspaper, ....which I must say you are all doing an excellent job of either deflecting or selling the project but not a real good job of convincing the public.

which is owned by members of the Randall family, some of whom also own the parcel on which the hotel might one day be built....but hopefully you haven't counted your money yet..

Now, before people start to squawk that we’re only writing this because we have a financial interest in the hotel project, grow up. ....WOW...feeling the sting from the public hey? LOL why don't YOU grow-up and admit the truth that we the public all know already, that you are using your reporters and your newspaper to sell this project to the public and you are really hurting your credibility as a newspaper....

Burgessdr

You are opposed to people who actually accomplish things. They make those that do absolutely nothing look bad. Especially those who incessantly trash talk everybody and everything.

BlueDawn666

HUH?????

gary4books

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