From the Desk of
County Executive Jan Gardner
(4/2014) It’s been 100 days! I am excited to share accomplishments of my first 100 days as County Executive.
As Frederick County’s first County Executive, one of my top priorities is to ensure a smooth transition to Charter Government. The processes that we are putting in place now are likely to form the foundation for how charter government will function for many years. Working with Council President Bud Otis, we are striving to make sure county government functions well and
that the citizens receive effective and efficient services.
I have developed a productive working relationship and good communication with County Council leadership. I meet at least once a week with Council President Bud Otis and Council Vice-President M.C. Keegan-Ayer to share highlights of what is happening in county government and to discuss upcoming agenda items to make sure the information needed for good decision making is
provided. Council President Bud Otis and I are also touring county agencies to meet with employees, show our appreciation for their hard work, and to re-invigorate the county workforce. Our employees are the face of county government and do an outstanding job of providing important services to the community.
The state legislature is in session and I am attending many of the weekly meetings scheduled by our delegation. I have once again joined the Board of Directors of the Maryland Association of Counties and have been included in substantive meetings with other County Executives with state leadership. It has been wonderful that some well known former elected officials are now
in Governor Hogan’s cabinet including Secretary of Budget, David Brinkley who has provided insight into the state budget process and has provided a conduit for important advocacy for Frederick County needs.
I am very pleased to have a strong partnership with our municipal leaders. I meet monthly with municipal mayors. We are advocating together with the State Highway Administration to retain the tourist attraction signage on major roadways. Tourism is an important part of our local economies and we want travelers to stop to visit, shop in our local stores, and eat in our
Working with Delegate Carol Krimm and our municipal mayors, we have built consensus on a tax equity bill to make sure there is tax fairness between the county and municipalities. It is a great example of municipal, county and state officials working together. One of the delegates on the house committee that heard the bill noted our unique ability to work together in
One of my campaign promises was to restore trust in government. One of the ways to accomplish this is through a strengthening of the county ethics ordinance. I have appointed a task force to evaluate the creation of an independent ethics commission, to strengthen our ethics conflict of interest provisions, to consider adding back penalties for serious ethics violations,
and evaluate campaign finance reform. This diverse task force will report out by the end of June. Their work will lead to legislation to strengthen our ethics laws to hold elected officials accountable and to assure the public that decisions are being made in the best interest of the community.
Another campaign promise was to support job creation and a vibrant local economy. To that end, I recently announced several economic development initiatives. First, I have renamed the Business and Retention Department to the Office of Economic Development to better reflect its mission. Additionally I moved it under the County Executive’s office so that it reports directly
to me. I am advertising for members to create a Business and Industry Cabinet. This cabinet will consist of business owners and top decision makers in all walks of business and industry to advise me and the Office of Economic Development. I want business leaders to have access to the County Executive and to keep me informed of what government can do to be supportive or where government needs to
get out of the way. I am also re-establishing the small business revolving loan fund, looking to restore support to our business incubator and establishing a new incubator in downtown City of Frederick. I have started advertising to fill the Agriculture Business Specialist, an important position to support our agricultural industry.
We know our senior population is going to grow exponentially over the next 10 years. In fact, the over 65 age group is expected to grow in Frederick County at twice the rate of the state of Maryland and twice the rate of the country. This presents opportunities and challenges. We need to engage active seniors and their wealth of experience to address community needs. It is
my intent to revitalize the department of Aging, to expand the service areas for Meals on Wheels, to appoint a steering committee to implement the recommendations of the 2013 needs assessment, and to work with our federal and state partners to advocate for more funding for in home services.
The move to sell and privatize Citizens Care and the Montevue home created a lot of community opposition and was a key campaign issue in the race for County Executive. A group of citizens appealed the sale to court. The court has suspended the legal action for 90 days to allow time for the parties to negotiate a settlement. It is my intent to work toward a resolution that
will allow the county to continue to own these facilities and to continue to mission of the Montevue Home to provide assisted living services to the indigent elderly.
On April 15th, I will present the County Budget and transmit it to the county council for their review and consideration. I will present a balanced budget that sensibly meets the needs of our community without any increases in tax rates. It is my intent to fund education above the state mandated minimum, known as maintenance of effort, to begin restoring our longstanding
partnership with our non-profit human service agencies, and to support the needs of our seniors.
The County Council will hold public hearings on the budget on April 20 and April 21 and will then deliberate on the budget. The County Council under our new form of Charter Government can only subtract from the budget with the exception of funding for the Board of Education. The County Council must adopt a budget by May 25 or the County Executive’s budget will go into
The transition to charter government is going well. To learn more, you can watch weekly press briefings and a new Community Conversations program on Channel 19, visit the county webpage at www.frederickcountymd.gov, or follow me on Facebook at Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner or on Twitter @JanGardnerExec.
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