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Friday, April 8, 2011

Young Pushes Back Against Charter Board Petition

George Wenschhof

In response to the effort by eight individuals to gather signatures to force an election for the members of the charter writing board. Frederick Board of County Commissioners president Blaine Young issued a press release on Wednesday, stating he opposes a special charter board election.

Young went on to defend what he believes was an open and public selection process. Further, he points out the cost to hold a special election has now been estimated to be in excess of $250,000 according to elections director Stuart Harvey.

You can read the full press release here.

Meanwhile, the eight charter writing board hopefuls continue to work toward obtaining the two thousand signatures needed to require a special election. Their stated reason primarily seems to be centered on concerns related to the power given to the county executive and county council.

This war of words continue to plague the hopes of charter government proponents who worry the stumble out of the gate and possible special election will derail any hopes for passage by the voters in the 2012 general election.

It would seem obtaining two thousand signatures would not be too difficult. Each aspiring member of the board would need only obtain 250 signatures. A feat easily obtained by a door-to-door effort. Even adding an addition 50 signatures to be sure they pass the verification process, it is still a fairly easy goal.

Let the process work itself out and if an election takes place, it is unlikely more than a few positions would change in the composition of the charter writing board. If, two thousand signatures are not obtained and verified, it would indicate there is no significant concern over the appointment process.

The charter writing board has decided to continue to move forward, even though this petition effort is underway. They met again last night and had as a guest; Victor Tervala, a Maryland attorney who is a specialist in the area of charter government.

I watched a portion of the meeting last night on Frederick County cable channel 19 and felt he gave an outstanding presentation. It appeared he has been involved in several county efforts to move to the charter form of governing and was able to discuss the potential pratfalls a charter writing board may encounter.

One of the items discussed by the board was to discover what level of support budget is available to them from the county. A necessary and important question as support will need to be provided to the charter writing board. If the budget is sufficient and a reasonable proposal is received, it would be wise to retain Mr. Tervala as a consultant to the charter writing board.

Another member of the board; Rocky Mackintosh spoke of ways to involve members of the community in the charter writing process which is a position I have long held as crucial to the final passage by the voters.

The change to charter government has been needed in Frederick county for quite some time. A move to more control by the voters on their government is long overdo.

Stay tuned...


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