Officials look for legal guidance on outside pay for county executives

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
11/22/2013
State Sen. David Brinkley said he plans to ask for legal guidance on whether someone who owns a business, collects retirement benefits or earns other private income could serve as Frederick County executive. The Frederick County charter set to take effect next year stipulates that an executive cannot "participate in any private occupation for compensation," and as election season heats up, some are wondering exactly what those words mean. After a meeting with Frederick County commissioners Thursday, Brinkley said he doesn't think the charter writers meant that an executive can't earn any income outside the $95,000 annual salary that comes with the office. "If it was interpreted in the broadest sense, no one would qualify," Brinkley said. "Or at least, I wouldn't want a person in there who has no dividends, interest, retirement or any type of income from any other source. That's just unreasonable." Brinkley began asking questions about the employment restrictions after hearing Commissioners President Blaine Young discuss the issue on his afternoon radio show. Young is considering a run for the county executive post in 2014, but wouldn't relish sacrificing ownership of several businesses.

Gardner exploring run for county executive, plans first fundraiser

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/07/2013
Former Frederick County Commissioner Jan Gardner has filed to open a candidate committee account and says she is considering a run for county executive. Gardner said she mailed her paperwork to the Maryland State Board of Elections late last week and is already working to organize her first fundraiser. She said she's also planning a series of listening sessions across the county because many in the community feel their voices are not being heard by sitting officials. The 2014 election is a critical one for the county because it marks the shift to a new form of government, she added. "It's really important right now as the county transitions to charter (government) that we have strong leadership in place to make sure that transition goes well, to make sure we have open and ethical government," Gardner said. She said she is "very committed" to a race for executive, but wants to hear from local residents, gauge her support and raise funds before making her final decision. Gardner, a Democrat, served as Frederick County commissioner from December 1998 to December 2010 and from there went to work as a state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. She left her post with Mikulski in July.

Blaine Young bows out of governor’s race

Frederick News Post
Daniel J. Gross
08/25/13
Blaine Young's eyes are no longer set on Maryland's top seat. The Frederick County commissioner's president announced he would not run for governor during Frederick's eighth annual FUNomenon, a daylong fundraiser for the Patty Pollatos Fund at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Instead, he offered supporters a glimpse of him becoming Frederick County's first county executive and also endorsed Charles Lollar for governor, saying Lollar had a better shot in the general election. The Marine and Charles County businessman, who attended Saturday's event, was a candidate in 2010 for Maryland's 5th Congressional District but lost to incumbent Steny Hoyer. Young first announced he would explore a bid for the governor's seat in May. Upon soliciting opinions and contributions from Frederick County residents, Young said in a speech Saturday he had gathered $500,000 from 1,500 contributors. He offered refund checks to those who have donated to his campaign. Polling data suggested he had a chance of gaining the GOP nomination but a "slim to none" chance of winning in the general election, he said.

Blaine Young bows out of governor's race

Frederick News Post
Daniel J. Gross
08/25/13
Blaine Young's eyes are no longer set on Maryland's top seat. The Frederick County commissioner's president announced he would not run for governor during Frederick's eighth annual FUNomenon, a daylong fundraiser for the Patty Pollatos Fund at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Instead, he offered supporters a glimpse of him becoming Frederick County's first county executive and also endorsed Charles Lollar for governor, saying Lollar had a better shot in the general election. The Marine and Charles County businessman, who attended Saturday's event, was a candidate in 2010 for Maryland's 5th Congressional District but lost to incumbent Steny Hoyer. Young first announced he would explore a bid for the governor's seat in May. Upon soliciting opinions and contributions from Frederick County residents, Young said in a speech Saturday he had gathered $500,000 from 1,500 contributors. He offered refund checks to those who have donated to his campaign. Polling data suggested he had a chance of gaining the GOP nomination but a "slim to none" chance of winning in the general election, he said.

Gardner leaves job at Mikulski’s office and mulls future

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/09/2013
Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has left her job as state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. As the first-ever race for Frederick County executive nears, what could be next for her? Reached by phone this week, Gardner said she's taking some time to think about her future, but declined to give any clues about whether an elected office is on her mind. She did acknowledge that many people are urging her to run for county executive in 2014. "If anybody ... tells you you've done a good job and says they'd like you to do it again, I think that's always flattering, certainly," she said. Gardner, a Democrat, joined Mikuslki's office shortly after the end of her term as commissioners president. Her last day as the senator's state director was in July, she said. With the buzz that Gardner is looking at the executive race, some see a potential match of the political heavyweights brewing between her and Commissioners President Blaine Young. On Thursday, Young, who has said he is open to a Republican bid for Frederick County executive, said Gardner's entrance into the race would nudge him toward joining it himself. "People say that she's the leader of one philosophy, and I'm the leader of the other philosophy. … Some would would like to see that competition take place," he said.

Gardner leaves job at Mikulski's office and mulls future

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/09/2013
Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has left her job as state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. As the first-ever race for Frederick County executive nears, what could be next for her? Reached by phone this week, Gardner said she's taking some time to think about her future, but declined to give any clues about whether an elected office is on her mind. She did acknowledge that many people are urging her to run for county executive in 2014. "If anybody ... tells you you've done a good job and says they'd like you to do it again, I think that's always flattering, certainly," she said. Gardner, a Democrat, joined Mikuslki's office shortly after the end of her term as commissioners president. Her last day as the senator's state director was in July, she said. With the buzz that Gardner is looking at the executive race, some see a potential match of the political heavyweights brewing between her and Commissioners President Blaine Young. On Thursday, Young, who has said he is open to a Republican bid for Frederick County executive, said Gardner's entrance into the race would nudge him toward joining it himself. "People say that she's the leader of one philosophy, and I'm the leader of the other philosophy. … Some would would like to see that competition take place," he said.

Choosing Young’s adventure [and] Legislators get low marks from group [and] Center sale opponents organize rally

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/19/2013
A state environmental scorecard for 2013 was released this week, and a couple of Frederick County legislators scored zeros. Sen. David Brinkley was one of the two local lawmakers who failed to win (any) points with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2013. But Brinkley says it is important to consider how the league arrived at its evaluation about this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly. Lawmakers were penalized for opposing a gas tax increase and working to delay a requirement that certain counties create a stormwater fee. “They can call themselves about conservation, but they’re not. They’re about an agenda of increased taxation,” said Brinkley, R-District 4. While Brinkley and Delegate Kelly Schulz, R-District 4A, both got the lowest possible grades from the league, some higher scorers weren’t happy with the report, either. Sen. Ron Young, who earned a 71 percent score from the group, said he thinks the organization dropped the ball this year. Young’s scores suffered because he didn’t vote on the offshore wind bill and supported the agricultural certainty bill, which gives farmers who voluntarily follow certain practices a 10-year exemption from new state and local environmental regulations. Young said he is upset that the league didn’t back his legislation to create low-interest loans for building green homes. “I would downgrade them,” said Young, D-District 3. “I think they had their heads in the sand.” Young and Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, tied for the delegation’s highest score, and the grades take a pretty sharp downturn from there. Delegate Donald Elliott, R-District 4B, received a 50-percent score; Delegate Patrick Hogan, R-District 3A, got 43 percent; Delegate Michael Hough, R-District 3B, got a 25 percent; and Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4A, got a 20 percent.

Choosing Young's adventure [and] Legislators get low marks from group [and] Center sale opponents organize rally

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/19/2013
A state environmental scorecard for 2013 was released this week, and a couple of Frederick County legislators scored zeros. Sen. David Brinkley was one of the two local lawmakers who failed to win (any) points with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2013. But Brinkley says it is important to consider how the league arrived at its evaluation about this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly. Lawmakers were penalized for opposing a gas tax increase and working to delay a requirement that certain counties create a stormwater fee. “They can call themselves about conservation, but they’re not. They’re about an agenda of increased taxation,” said Brinkley, R-District 4. While Brinkley and Delegate Kelly Schulz, R-District 4A, both got the lowest possible grades from the league, some higher scorers weren’t happy with the report, either. Sen. Ron Young, who earned a 71 percent score from the group, said he thinks the organization dropped the ball this year. Young’s scores suffered because he didn’t vote on the offshore wind bill and supported the agricultural certainty bill, which gives farmers who voluntarily follow certain practices a 10-year exemption from new state and local environmental regulations. Young said he is upset that the league didn’t back his legislation to create low-interest loans for building green homes. “I would downgrade them,” said Young, D-District 3. “I think they had their heads in the sand.” Young and Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, tied for the delegation’s highest score, and the grades take a pretty sharp downturn from there. Delegate Donald Elliott, R-District 4B, received a 50-percent score; Delegate Patrick Hogan, R-District 3A, got 43 percent; Delegate Michael Hough, R-District 3B, got a 25 percent; and Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4A, got a 20 percent.