(11/2017) Recently, County Executive Jan Gardner published a "letter to the editor" in the FNP outlining the many "successes" of her administration. Unfortunately, this letter was riddled with falsehoods and misrepresentations.
Let start with her claim the County has "adopted strong ethics laws"
Fact: Gardner supported a watered-down version of ethics reform and publicly attacked a stronger version proposed by Senator Michael Hough. Hough’s bill, which I supported was stronger and broader, and it addressed situations exactly like the one in which Gardner found herself. Hough’s bill would have required county officials to disclose campaign contributions greater than $500 within 48
hours, and Gardner rejected the bill. However, Gardner accepted campaign cash from the lobbyist for the Downtown Hotel Conference Center at the same time she was pushing for the project. "Strong" ethics reform would have forced Gardner to disclose this contribution
Gardner claims that Frederick High School was "advanced" under her administration - but it opened on schedule per the Blaine Young BoCC's 2012 Capital Improvement Program. Gardner also claims that she "advanced" Butterfly Ridge and Sugarloaf Elementary schools - but they are only opening on-time because developers stepped up when Gardner's only solution was raising taxes.
Gardner also claims she "advanced school construction … including Frederick High School, as well as … Butterfly Ridge and Sugarloaf Elementary Schools"
Fact: None of the schools mentioned by Gardner were "advanced" in any way. Frederick HS was moved up by the Blaine Young BoCC in the 2012 Capital Improvement Program. The construction for Butterfly Ridge and Sugarloaf were delayed during Gardner’s admin. They are only "on-track" because developers stepped up and forward-funded their construction when Gardner proposed raising taxes first.
Gardner claims she "advanced new and expanded parks, the Walkersville branch library, the Middletown fire station, and a number of county road/bridge projects…"
Fact: None of the projects mentioned were "advanced" at all. There is no instance of a Parks and Rec or road/bridge project being advanced. The Walkersville branch library was planned in the 2012-17 CIP established by the Blaine Young BoCC, and the majority of the Middletown fire station was funded in FY2013.
Gardner claims she has "energized job creation" and created "over 4,200 jobs" in the "past two years"
Fact: The most recent publicly-available data doesn’t support this claim. From Q12015 to Q12017, total employment increased by 3,197 and private sector employment increased by 3,051. Even assuming that 4,200 jobs have been added, this would be on-par with job growth in the first two years of the Blaine Young BoCC, when private sector employment increased by 4,144. There is no sign that job
creation has been "energized" at all – in fact, from June 2015 to June 2016, Frederick County was the only county in Maryland that experienced negative job growth.
Gardner Claims Frederick has "earned the first ever AAA bond rating" for the country from "all three" ratings agencies.
Fact: The county was awarded its first ever AAA bond rating in 2014, under the Blaine Young BoCC. This was after the county bond rating was lowered from "stable" to "negative" while Jan Gardner was President of the BoCC. The Blaine Young BoCC achieved "one" AAA bond rating while cutting over 200 taxes and fees.
Gardner claims she "has kept taxes low with absolutely no property tax or income tax rate increases"
Fact: During Gardner’s administration, the property tax rate has been set above the constant yield rate every year. By the state’s own definition, this is a tax increase on Frederick County taxpayers.