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Gardner Requests Attorney General Opinion on Young's Planning Commission Appointment

(12/9) Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner today sent a letter to Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler requesting an expedited opinion regarding the prior Board of County Commissioners’ appointment of then County Commissioner Blaine Young to the Planning Commission on November 24, 2014.

County Executive Gardner stated, "Shortly before the Frederick County Charter became fully effective and I took office as the first Frederick County Executive on December 1, the prior Board of County Commissioners took actions that have caused great uncertainty in Frederick County. The board accepted the resignation of then County Commissioner Blaine Young as the County Commissioner ex officio member of the Planning Commission and then immediately appointed Mr. Young to a five-year term on the Planning Commission.

"These actions have created confusion as to whether Mr. Young, in fact, does serve as a member of the Planning Commission. On November 30, 2014, Mr. Young served as both a county commissioner and as a member of the Planning Commission . . . These are both offices of profit and incompatible positions under state law.

"The resolution of this issue is of great importance to me and the Frederick County residents. The Planning Commission makes crucial land use decisions that have long lasting consequences. Questions about whether Mr. Young is a member of the Planning Commission bring uncertainty and confusion to all of the Planning Commission decisions in which he participates. The landowners, the interested citizens and all Frederick County voters and taxpayers are entitled to certainty in the Planning Commission decisions . . . For these reasons I request an expedited opinion at the earliest possible time."

County Attorney John Mathias reviewed the legal issues involved with the actions taken by the previous commissioners regarding the appointment of Mr. Young to the Planning Commission and prepared a legal memorandum for County Executive Gardner.

He concluded that "Mr. Young was both a county commissioner and a planning commission member on November 30, 2014. He held two offices of profit and served in two incompatible positions. The effect of this depends upon which approach a court would ultimately take in reviewing this situation. If Mr. Young were deemed to have resigned from his position of county commissioner, then he would continue to serve on the Planning Commission. On the other hand, if Mr. Young was determined to be ineligible to accept the second office of profit, the attempted appointment of Mr. Young to the Planning Commission would have been void from the beginning and he would never have become a member of the Planning Commission."

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding this appointment to the Planning Commission, County Executive Gardner sent Mr. Young a letter requesting that he not participate on the commission until the legal issues are resolved.

She wrote to Mr. Young, "I do not believe that this appointment was appropriate or valid."

For additional information, contact County Attorney Mathias at 301-600-1030 or via e-mail at

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