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As Long as We Remember...

November 6, 2009

District Elections

Joe Charlebois

As the newly elected administration at Frederick’s City Hall moves in, one thing is certain; with or without the annexations, Frederick will need to grow. Mayor-elect Randy Mc Clement understands this. More homes will need to be built and land will need to be acquired if new business is to take up roots and provide good paying local jobs.


Yes, our sleepy little historic town will need to grow and with that the city will change, too. The city will house a much larger portion of residents outside the historical downtown area than it already does.


Nearly all the growth as one would expect is in the outlying neighborhoods. Due to this additional growth a need for a different form of government is required.


The current system allows for the election of a mayor and five aldermen. The aldermanic candidates are elected in an at-large system. The fact that the city could be represented by a mayor and five aldermen living on the same block is an idea that’s time has passed.


Obviously the city charter was written when the City of Frederick housed a much smaller populace and covered far fewer acres.


It is time for the City of Frederick to be represented by elected officials from each geographical area of the city.


In twenty-one years – 2030 – this city is estimated to grow to a population of 92,000 people. A city of this size should be represented by district.


This should be based on the 12 current Neighborhood Advisory Councils or NACs. The success of the NACs lies in the fact that they are an easy, fast and efficient way for leaders of the city to respond to the needs specific to their neighborhood. By extension, the aldermanic representatives could respond to the concerns of their neighborhood council at the most local level.


It is fair to say that there have been varying levels of success between the individual NACs, but it is has been the most positive remnant of the Dougherty administration and has brought  various communities together on issues of importance.


As I wrote just after the primary election, certain parts of the city feel excluded from the process. The level of participation at the polls would surely increase if the voter had a representative that they could hold accountable regarding city business.


The time has come. Frederick isn’t hiding anymore. In the near future we will truly transform from a sleepy historical town to a medium sized city with a historical heart. We should be represented at the most local of levels to assure that our elected officials are held accountable as they along with us experience the growing pains that are assuredly coming.


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