Just over five years after charter government was adopted by county voters, one of the county’s political groups is aiming to end it.
The Frederick County Conservative Club is aiming to get enough signatures on a petition to return the form of government to a Board of County Commissioners, according to a post earlier this month by Frederick Local Yokel, a blog focusing on local politics.
Former County Councilman and County Commissioner Kirby Delauter wrote a message titled “Frexit 2020,” a nod to the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union. In it, he details the Conservative Club’s intention to draft a ballot initiative to return to a commissioner form of government, and asks for donations to help accomplish that goal.
“The Commissioner form of Government is far better representation for businesses and taxpayers,” Delauter wrote.
Delauter could not be reached for comment via multiple phone calls this week, but Fred Propheter, president of the Conservative Club, said the club is assembling a steering committee to help gather signatures and finish the petition.
Propheter admitted he voted for the charter, but has since felt a commissioner form of government is more responsive and citizen-friendly than one that involves a county executive and council.
“It’s going to be hard enough putting the genie back in the bottle. We know we have our work cut out for us,” Propheter said.
Frederick County Election Director Stuart Harvey said in order for the petition to be filed, 10,000 signatures from county residents must be gathered. It would then be sent to the County Council, which would review and send it to the Board of Elections for approval.
According to the State Board of Elections website, the deadline for filing the petition to the County Council is July 27. Propheter, who said he’ll serve as chair of the steering committee to draft the petition, knows he and others face an uphill climb.
“The biggest thing is it’s going to take a lot of work to get this done,” Propheter said. “It’s not a Republican and Democratic thing. It’s a move by the electorate to move to a more citizens-friendly form of government.”
Lewis Young appointed to opioid, behavioral health board
A local delegate interested in health care and mental health issues was appointed to a board aimed at reducing opioid use disorders and treating behavioral health issues.
Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) recently tapped Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick) to join the Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders, consisting of five delegates appointed by the House speaker and five state senators chosen by the Senate president.
Lewis Young said Wednesday the appointment suits her well as she has filed several bills related to mental health and opioid use. She added the committee oversees Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) Opioid Operational Command Center.
“So not only will I have more information but more influence over the directions that we go,” Lewis Young said.
She believes the group will meet roughly every quarter, but hopes they can convene this session to review any relevant legislation and make recommendations. She added it will be important to review data and best practices of other states to see who has been combating the issue well.
“Also, if there are policies, whether they’re public safety or medical policies, what about the industry experts — where are their positions?” she said.