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April 8, 2005

More City Hall "Truth" on the Way?

Roy Meachum

Despite Mayor Jennifer Daugherty's penchant for controlling all that she surveys, another inside source has blown the whistle on her claim of loving and caring for her official family. The first appeared during her bloody war over the Weinberg Center.

Three Mondays in a row, via Email, person or persons unknown slammed Her Honor before officials, municipal staff and, oh, yes, the media, which quickly received copies.

Obviously a city employee, the unidentified whistleblower dishes facts not motivated by political ambition. Self-named The Truth, the writer may or may not be among the round dozen Ms. Daugherty told she would have to fire because of alleged deficits in the budget.

This administration came into office on a campaign that promised "open government," which died somewhere between Election Day and the mayor's inauguration. The opposite is true, as The Truth points out.

The Board of Aldermen's two ladies swooned in their happy approval for the proposed firings, applauding Ms. Dougherty's honesty and fairness in telling the employees they were headed for the pavement. Led by the wife of a past mayor who presently writes a column that totally supports his wife (Surprise!), Her Honor's personal claque is up to its mascara trying to convince the world their Jennie really acted in the employees' best interest.

The Truth proclaims otherwise, pointing out two facts: none of the people she hired are on the hit list and her announced intention of firing the heads of human resources and parks and recreation violates the city's Charter, which specifically mandates those positions.

As you certainly know, Jennifer Dougherty constantly trumpets her so-called strict adherence to the Charter and its rules; she cites family lawyers to "prove" the superb legality of every public position she takes. On the other hand, she has hired a Baltimore attorney at taxpayers' expense, without getting the board's approval and that presents a flagrant violation of the Charter, as publisher John Ashbury pointed out on Cable 10's "Pressing Issues."

Also smashing the Charter is her full-court attempt to mandate Frederick's financial future, as dramatically demonstrated by her melodramatic multiple firing, which it is easily suspected has more to do with this year's elections than reality.

To state the obvious, the mayor does not control the budget; she proposes and the Board of Aldermen disposes, according to the city's "constitution." And a clear majority has made clear that no one will be fired except in final desperation, which will not happen anytime soon.

For Ms. Dougherty and her feckless budget director Jon Angel have failed to disclose Frederick's due at least another million from property taxes, even with Alderman Dave Lenhart's provision limiting the state's power to increase assessments.

The Truth stands far from alone in shouting foul over the way City Hall treats human beings, nor is the writer the first to disclose information from behind a cloak of anonymity.

Ms. Dougherty's long knives on back-to-back Weinberg Center directors prompted another unknown municipal employee to make available memos that seemed to prove the mayor was less than honest when she claimed no knowledge of Jeff Reedy's dismissal.

By the way, so many people "know" about a settlement reached between Ms. Dougherty and Mr. Reedy's predecessor, Stuart Seale, that it's impossible to doubt it happened. Mr. Seale and his attorney refuse to comment, leading to the widespread belief that the deal demanded no public statement of the terms or amount.

Since tax dollars were certainly involved, however, the Frederick public has a right to know how much of their hard earned money was frittered away by Jennifer Dougherty's amoral if not strictly illegal act to discharge the most successful director in the entire history of the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Maybe that's the unknown expenditure behind the proposed firings.

Meanwhile, as you can imagine most folks who hang their hats in City Hall look forward to more truth from The Truth. Stay tuned.

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