Frederick County residents angry about privatization

Critics of plan rally again in support of county employees
Sherry Greenfield
For a second time this week, Frederick County residents came out to support government employees who are at risk of losing their jobs to the private sector. Residents packed the first-floor hearing room of Winchester Hall, the seat of county government, Tuesday night and told the Frederick Board of County Commissioners that their proposal to outsource some government services to private companies will have dire consequences. Many predicted a dismal future for Frederick County if private companies take control of government services, such as road maintenance, snow removal, parks, electrical inspections and help for senior citizens.

Frederick commissioners adopt school construction fee

Move allows developers to pay to build homes near overcrowded schools
Margarita Raycheva
Builders in hard hats applauded Tuesday night when Frederick County commissioners adopted a proposal allowing them to pay a fee so they can build homes near overcrowded schools. The newly adopted ordinance, which goes in effect July 20, would open up the possibility of construction near overcrowded schools as long as those schools are not above 120 percent capacity.

Nonprofits to Frederick County: Take time privatizing

Ex-commissioner asks for 'thoughtful' tactics
Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
Leaders from two area nonprofit organizations are calling for the Frederick County Commissioners to slow down on a proposal to privatize more than 500 county government jobs. In his report to the commissioners, Georgia consultant Oliver Porter last week recommended the board consider outsourcing core government services handled by about 500 of the county's more than 2,000 employees. Four public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for next month. On Tuesday, leaders from Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County, two local nonprofits, met at C. Burr Artz Public Library to discuss the proposal with Frederick County Commissioner David Gray. At a public hearing last week, the League of Women Voters also called for a slower process. Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County members suggested Porter's study should be reviewed by another consultant, or the county should consider establishing a pilot program of outsourcing only one department, instead of proceeding with Porter's plan of outsourcing all at once. "It's too big to rush into without a serious and thoughtful approach," said Kai Hagen, a former Frederick County commissioner who is now executive director of Envision Frederick County. He said the 27-page study contains little more detail than a brochure for Porter's business, PPP Associates, and described the report as a combination puff piece and sales pitch.

Frederick commissioner questions Office of Sustainability

Office says county saves nearly $500,000 per year by encouraging green practices
Katherine Heerbrandt
Frederick County government has achieved major savings by going green, but at least one commissioner is not yet convinced that those savings are large enough or sustainable enough to warrant a separate office.

Candidates clash at final forum

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
In a last-minute push for votes, candidates at a Tuesday night Frederick County commissioner forum went into attack mode on some of the biggest issues facing the county. Candidates disagreed on the effects of land use policy, how much the budget has been cut and whether the next board should reverse a decision to build a regional waste-to-energy trash incinerator. Ten candidates are running for five slots on the commissioners board.