Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) meetings have enabled Frederick residents to identify and recommend positive changes for neighborhoods and communicate with the city’s police throughout their existence.

Feedback from NAC coordinators — unpaid citizens who volunteer to lead NACs and are appointed by the mayor’s office — documents increasing impatience with how the NACs are currently operating. The city’s police have not been communicating information about crimes and public disturbances to the NAC coordinators, or the broader public, in a timely and transparent manner. The city was silent when armed assaults, a carjacking, and gunshots occurred in North Pointe. Neighbors’ concerns continue to be unaddressed, including the events at the Mirage Nightclub and when gunshots were fired at the park located at the corner of Wilson and Taney Avenue.

Phone calls and emails from NAC coordinators go unanswered. Issues like blighted properties, sidewalk repairs, speeding, crosswalks, street signs, noisy commercial properties, public nuisance issues and more go unaddressed. Feedback on planning, zoning and licensing issues seems to be ignored. Improvements that occur often take months or years to accomplish. These send a message to NAC coordinators and the neighbors they represent that “Your issues don’t matter.”

The city liaison attending meetings appears to have no authority or influence. Based on NAC coordinator concerns expressed before the pandemic, a “NAC 2.0” activity was initiated but has gone nowhere. Occasionally, an elected leader or member of the mayor’s staff attends a NAC meeting, but this is not consistent. NAC coordinators and NACs appear marginalized.

Perhaps the issue is that the Board of Aldermen are at-large representatives. Returning to electing legislators based on districts might address this, creating stronger bonds between the NACs and district representatives.

Perhaps the issue is that the mayor’s office views the NACs as gadflies whose opinions must be endured rather than embraced.

Perhaps the issue is that NAC coordinators, as unelected leaders, have no political authority to block or promote any change to how the city operates and therefore can be ignored.

It is because of this disenfranchisement that many residents are reluctant to get involved with the NACs. If you’re going to be ignored, what’s the point?

NACs are a valuable resource, and the city must integrate their perspectives in the day-to-day decision-making process of elected leaders and city employees. The transformational leadership necessary to accomplish this must come from the mayor.

Peter Brehm, Tom Evans, Julia Schaeffer and Nkem Wellington

Frederick

(13) comments

lewisantq

Jennifer hired Kim Dine, maybe the best hire in the history of Frederick City. She got rid of the clown show in the Department of Public Works. When there were citizen concerns about a massive rezoning initiative by the city, she mailed notices to every home affected by the rezoning, then hosted a large public, open air meeting in Schley Park where 250 homeowners voiced their concerns. She reached out to her constituents, invited their comments, provided a forum and then acted on their complaints. True leadership. Compare that to the recent ADU legislation which removed basic zoning protection from 7,000 homeowners, for the most part, without their knowledge. Jennifer would not have permitted that. Bob Lewis

Piedmontgardener

My take - Randy was an outstanding mayor for commerce. Not so for community, but he was willing to learn. And humble. O'Connor has the ability to learn this. The more important piece is to vote out McShane and any allies, this clown show attempt to character assassinate Wilson was beyond anything that belongs anywhere in municipal government. Jennifer is a good person and very devoted to this town, but I don't want to recycle the past.

TrekMan

O'Connor doesn't care about anything than O'Connor and his precious image. Useless as you-know-what on a Boar hog!!

girlinfrederick

We need a mayor who will value citizen input and the NAC's. The current mayor does not realize the value that this initiative holds in terms of opening lines of communication between the government and the citizens and vice versa. I have seen Roger at NAC meetings and out in the community listening to what citizens have to say.

kfmd

Then vote for Jennifer. She has big plans to restore and improve the nacs. They were created under her watch

JustACitizen

I won't endorse any candidate(s) in this forum, but I do implore every eligible voter to vote in this upcoming election. It's easier than ever: by mail, by drop-box, or in-person. Mayoral and aldermanic races matter to us all. Just do it.

LeBlancp01

NAC unrealized power of the NAC is within the individual/group efforts of the Citizens themselves and not what City Government does or does not do for the most part. I agree the City and Elected Officials maybe slipping in their delivery and that helping to keep them on track and doing the right things is important. However, I suggest the NAC lead their efforts with their own initiatives and not rely on or exclusively follow the city per se.

Since there is no “Citizen” issues collection and tracking system within Frederick I suggesting the NAC use the Meeting notes for same (Major Issue List, Track progress, and Wall of shame) and apply real effort in publishing its concerns via FNP, DFP, NAC Advisory Memos to M&B, etc. and Street/Neighborhood Protests if needed.

NAC needs to get back to being a Citizen forum and less of an arm of the Frederick City.

Ask not what the Frederick City can do for you; ask with you can do for Frederick City!

yogib

Roger Wilson is really the best of the bunch. He has years of experience even on an international basis of working with people and groups like the Nacs.

all others have inadequate backgrounds or have shown they cannot work in the citizens best interest.. Roger knows what to do.

kfmd

Roger is the last person this city needs. May I remind you... Independent investigation...

“there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Alderman Wilson relied on his position as an Alderman to gain the acquaintance and trust of women in the community. He then used a pretense of helping these women as an opportunity to request that they engage in sexual relationships with him. “

matthewboh

Perhaps the answer is to get a new mayor, one who actually will get things done. I've looked over the current roster, and Jennifer is the one and only stand out candidate. Make sure you get out and vote in the primary on September 14th. PS - The Frederick News Post needs to cover this mayoral primary!

Dwasserba

The NACs started during Jennifer’s era which was blemished with misogyny. She responded in a feisty way completely inappropriate to the popular image of a delicate Southern flower. What a work ethic too. She may be the candidate for these times, but imo O’Connor deserves another term, considering the freakish nature of his first.

kfmd

Agree with all your points. EXCEPT that Michael deserves another term. Assuming your referring to Covid. Jen had the aftermath of 911, anthrax, a historic drought, and sniper shooters down the road. Not to mention our city water situation. Michael did not handle covid well. I would have preferred jen

micky

VOTE JENNIFER !!

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