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.

Frederick city officials limit LLC campaign donations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
11/08/2013
Business owners will now all be limited to the same standard when they make donations to candidates in city of Frederick elections, whether they own corporations or LLCs. The Frederick Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance Thursday that limits the amount of money an owner of multiple business entities may donate to a mayoral or aldermanic candidate. The limit is the same as it is for individuals and corporations that donate: $2,500 to an individual mayoral candidate, and $1,000 to an individual aldermanic candidate. The change comes after owners of multiple LLCs used the LLCs to donate beyond the maximum corporate donation to two mayoral candidates, Delegate Galen Clagett and Alderwoman Karen Young. When noticing the donations, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections and the aldermen asked city staff to draft an ordinance, calling it a loophole in the law. When drafting the ordinance, the city's legal department mirrored the language in a new state law. The General Assembly passed a law this year that limits the owners' donations. It takes effect in 2015. The city decided Thursday expand the law even further than the state, at the suggestion of Alderman Michael O'Connor.

Russell, O'Connor lead field in aldermanic race

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
11/06/2013
Four Democrats and one Republican led the field in Tuesday’s contest to become the next five aldermen in the city of Frederick, according to unofficial election numbers. With all 12 polling precincts reporting, the top contenders included two incumbents, one former alderwoman, an attorney and a director of government affairs. However, with hundreds of ballots yet to be counted, the highest five vote-getters didn’t have large enough leads to put them out of reach of other contenders. If Tuesday night’s standings hold, the partisan balance on the city board will remain unchanged when the next batch of aldermen take office Dec. 12. Preliminary totals from the general election showed Alderwoman Kelly Russell and Alderman Michael O’Connor finishing ahead of the other eight candidates, with 4,212 and 4,169 votes, respectively. Tuesday’s unofficial tally put Democrat Josh Bokee in third place with 3,789 votes. Republican Philip Dacey and Democrat Donna Kuzemchak took fourth and fifth place, earning 3,781 and 3,656 votes, respectively.

Frederick re-elects Mayor Randy McClement

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
11/06/2013
Mayor Randy McClement will lead Frederick for four more years. In the city’s general election Tuesday, residents chose McClement, a Republican, over his two challengers, Democratic Alderwoman Karen Young and former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, who ran as an unaffiliated candidate, according to unofficial city results. McClement received nearly half the votes, with 3,714 votes, or 48.75 percent; Young received 2,407 votes, or 31.59 percent; Dougherty received 1,480 votes, or 19.43 percent. Of the city’s 35,498 registered voters, 7,648 residents cast a ballot Tuesday, for a turnout of about 21.5 percent.

Election supervisors want to cap LLC donations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/26/2013
Frederick's law regarding how much business owners can donate to candidates in elections should mirror the state's law, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections decided Wednesday. The board will recommend to the mayor and Board of Aldermen that they pass an amendment to the city's election law that limits the amount a person who owns multiple business entities, such as limited liability corporations, is able to donate to each candidate. Anne Leffler, the board's president, said the change is long overdue. The business owner would be limited to the same amounts allowed to a resident or corporation — $2,500 to one mayoral candidate and $1,000 to one aldermanic candidate — no matter how many business entities that person owns or is making donations from.

City board: Clagett broke electioneering rules

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/26/2013
Delegate Galen Clagett broke electioneering rules during Frederick's primary election Sept. 10, according to the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections. Clagett, District 3A, lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Alderwoman Karen Young, who will be on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. The elections board voted at a Sept. 18 meeting to pursue legal action against Clagett, who illegally entered polling places and displayed campaign material on Sept. 10, according to the board's meeting minutes. Clagett said he was within his rights when visiting the polls and never violated any electioneering rules. Anne Leffler, the board's president, declined to comment. Multiple election judges told the board that Clagett violated city code by "entering numerous polling places, introducing himself and conversing with the judges," the minutes state. Clagett "refused to leave when asked to do so."

Aldermanic candidates mix of old, new faces

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/11/2013
wo sitting aldermen and two former aldermen are among the 10 candidates who are poised to face off against one another in the city of Frederick’s general election, according to unofficial primary results. On the Republican side, city voters Tuesday chose Philip Dacey, Katie Nash, Alan Imhoff, Dave Schmidt and Daniel Cowell to move on to compete in the city’s Nov. 5 general election, according to the preliminary totals for the primary election. The top five Democratic vote-getters were Alderwoman Kelly Russell, Alderman Michael O’Connor, Josh Bokee, Donna Kuzemchak and John Daniels, according to the preliminary numbers.

McClement, Young clinch mayoral nominations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/11/2013
Mayor Randy McClement and Alderwoman Karen Young each clinched their party’s nomination Tuesday and will move on to the Nov. 5 general election, according to unofficial election results. In the Republican race, McClement defeated Alderwoman Shelley Aloi and former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger. He brought in 49 percent of the total with 808 votes; Aloi had 32 percent with 534 votes; and Holtzinger had 19 percent with 317 votes. In the Democratic race, Alderwoman Karen Young defeated Delegate Galen Clagett and newcomer Carol Hirsch. Young brought in 50 percent of the total with 1,168 votes; Clagett had 40 percent with 925 votes; and Hirsch had 10 percent with 237 votes.

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.

Hogan: “I never intended to make a career out of elected service"

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/14/2013
Maryland Delegate Patrick Hogan announced Tuesday he will not seek election to a third term, a decision that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and three young children, and explore other career opportunities. Hogan, 34, said he started thinking about his future in state politics soon after winning in the 2010 election and reached the conclusion that his current term would probably be his last. Commuting back and forth from Annapolis to Frederick has been a challenge, especially during the 90 days the Maryland General Assembly is in session each year, he said.

Hogan: “I never intended to make a career out of elected service”

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/14/2013
Maryland Delegate Patrick Hogan announced Tuesday he will not seek election to a third term, a decision that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and three young children, and explore other career opportunities. Hogan, 34, said he started thinking about his future in state politics soon after winning in the 2010 election and reached the conclusion that his current term would probably be his last. Commuting back and forth from Annapolis to Frederick has been a challenge, especially during the 90 days the Maryland General Assembly is in session each year, he said.

Delegate Hogan Announces he will not seek re-election

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
08/13/2013
In a press release, Maryland Republican state delegate Patrick Hogan announced he will not will running next year for the seat in district 3-A. Hogan said “I am grateful to the citizens of Frederick for giving me the opportunity to represent them in the legislature,” said Hogan. He continued, “I never intended to make a career out of elected service and now it is time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life.” He added "he is particularly proud of working to secure funding for important local school construction and transportation projects as well as working on the Environmental Matters Committee trying to balance environmental protection with economic growth." There are two state delagte seats in district 3-A and Democratic delegate Galen Clagett, who is running for mayor of The City of Frederick has already announced he would not seek another term. The Maryland state election is next year and it is commonly known Democratic city alderman Carol Krimm, who is not seeking re-election as an alderman in the city election this year, will run for state delegate next year. Also, in the rumor mill is Democrat Ryan Trout, who ran for state delegate in district 4-A in the 2010 election. He now lives in Frederick, which is part of district 3-A.

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.

New primary date makes campaigns adjust schedules

While others actively campaign, Gansler opting for September start
Gazette
Ryan Marshall
07/26/2013
A new primary date has led many Maryland gubernatorial campaigns to start their politicking unseasonably early, but some prime contenders have opted for a delayed start to the race. For the 2014 election, Maryland’s primary will be held on June 24 rather than in September, forcing candidates who otherwise might have waited until the fall to declare their intentions earlier.
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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.

Clagett Signs on Yellow Cabs Stirs Controversy

Frederick Politics
George Wenschhof
07/16/2013
Over the weekend, Democratic candidate for mayor; Galen Clagett signs were spotted atop yellow cabs in Frederick. It did not take long for comments to begin in what promises to be a hotly contested race for mayor of The City of Frederick. Community activist Kimberly Mellon first reported on the Clagett signs with a photo on her Facebook page “One Frederick, Many Voices”. When I asked her to share her concerns, she sent me the following: “I am appalled by what appears at first glance to be Galen Clagett's campaign staff's ignorance to Interstate Mobile Advertising's (IMA) Taxi Top Ads used for sponsoring Blaine Young's rhetoric on his self-named WFMD Show.” Blaine Young is Republican President of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners and host of a daily radio show. Mellon added “I'm left pondering Clagett’s intentions. Are Clagett's and Young's stars aligned with developer’s interests? Mellon mentioned an article in The Gazette dated April 25, 2013 that said in part “The bill, introduced by Del. Galen Clagett (D-Dist. 3A) of Frederick, will prevent opponents from asking the Frederick County Board of Appeals to overturn any of the long-term pacts — called Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreements, or DRRAs — that can be in effect for a quarter of a century.”