One of the
questions I asked City of Frederick Democratic alderman Michael O’Connor,
during my interview was; “Why did he want another four years in office?”
with “the city is great and has been very good to him throughout his
professional career and he has been honored to have served the last four years.”Michael added “he wants to continue his
efforts and that it has been the hardest fun he has ever had.”
Michael was referring to, were his hopes to help create a sustainable
community, maintain strong fiscal stewardship of the city finances and to
increase citizen engagement in the political process.Taken together, they will help in his overall
goal of creating a safe, clean and well connected community.
was pleased the city was able to include in the budget, funding for a sustainability
manager and was hopeful, once the person was hired, they would help establish
procurement rules leading to purchasing sustainable products and more.
to see an increase in recycling and composting in the city and told me he did
not support the county government plans to build an incinerator for the
disposal of solid waste.
often spoke of his belief of governing from the bottom up as opposed from the
top down and believed in including all city stakeholders in developing a vision
for the city.He pointed out his support
of the board of alderman recently passed resolution calling for a strategic
adoption of the Golden Mile Small Area Plan and East Frederick Rising were two
examples of what O’Connor would like to see more of throughout the city.Unfortunately, he told me the city planning staff
was not sized to take on additional small area plan developments. So, he would
either support an increase in staff or the hiring of a consultant.
When I brought
up the Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NACs) and the possibility of involving
them in small area plan developments, he rapidly agreed, saying “they are
chomping at the bit to be more involved.”
said the interaction between police and public works with the NACs was very
good, but that “it was time to raise the bar.”He would like to increase their input in the planning review process and
to also have them help shape policy in regard to the allocation of services to
out that businesses were also part of communities and he would encourage them
to become involved with the NACs.
wants to get more input from citizens in the development of a strategic plan
and feels strongly residents should have a voice in city hall.
to fiscal stewardship, Michael reminded me the economy was horrible when they
took office in 2009 and that they have managed to balance the budget during
to the underfunded Pension and Other Post Employment Programs (OPEB), Michael
told me he was satisfied with the actions they have taken so far.
He did say
he was frustrated the city has taken so long to see visible steps taken from
the recommendations put forth by the Blighted and Vacant Property task force.Michael was hopeful the city would take the steps necessary to allow
them to use receivership as a tool in combating neighborhood eyesores.
alderman concluded the interview by saying “he puts great value in listening to
eight Democratic and seven Republican candidates running for the five member
board of aldermen.
of Frederick primary election is September 10.
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