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As Long as We Remember...

December 10, 2002

An Ill Wind Is Blowing Toward The Weinberg Center

David 'Kip' Koontz

Well, the "Wind," Herzonner Jennifer Dougherty, is huffing and puffing again and this time the hurricane has landed on Stewart Seal, artistic director of the Weinberg Center for the Arts.

One must question why she is so insistent on removing someone from a position, who by all accounts, has done an excellent job in righting the center's course after the debacle that was Jade Wu.

It is understood that Mr. Seal received a form letter from the city's Office of Human Resources stating that he is not qualified to be the director of the Weinberg even though he has been doing it successfully for the last 5 years.

Since his arrival the quality of the programming is superior, ranging from Arlo Guthrie to internationally renowned Latin dance troupes (which in speaking to many in attendance, they came from D.C. and beyond to attend) to the Moscow Boys Choir, while at the same time attendance is up.

All things appear to be looking good.

But the "Wind" began roaring as she first tried to fire Mr. Seal at a meeting a few months ago after he authorized spending money to make necessary improvements to the theater(ones that were required by a code inspector, by the way), though the improvements were not part of the package that had funding authorization.

Crazy thing about that was that he effectively managed to see to it that the approved improvements and the additional improvements were all done for under the originally approved funding amount.

Hmmmm. Who wouldn't applaud efficiency and a well-managed spending of tax dollars?


Herzonner bumbled in her handling of the matter as she tried simply to oust him at her demand and she was nothing but embarrassed when she was unsuccessful in gaining enough votes from the alderman to approve his dismissal.

Next in her ‘round about way, she gleans that the title of the job is different and the job description is different than what Mr. Seal calls himselfand what duties he performs and Herzonner's wind huffed, and for that reason alone, Mr. Seal needed to go.

Seems Herzonner needs to check out the job description of Mr. Vincent Hughes who is referred to as "Chief Operations Officer" though the position's role was dramatically changed from when Rick Weldon held it, though most would say Mr. Hughes is given that same authority regardless of the job description.

Guess that is because she got to pick Mr. Hughes.

One theory as to why the Wind is raging against Mr. Seal is that he didn't immediately sign off on the idea that the Weinberg should be returned to private hands yesterday, as Herzonner proposes.

We know, well, at least Gary Hessong knows, what happens when one dares stand up to the Wind - you get yourself blown out of City Hall.

Herzonner's insistence that all things be done in her way and her way only is ineffective leadership.

That trait has many saying that it may not be all that long before the wind goes out of her sails because her knack for alienating people may put her back behind her bar instead of the mayor's desk.

Some wish there was a process spelled out in the city’s charter to recall her now.

It seems apparent that until Herzonner replaces everyone she wants to who works for the City, with those she prefers (her lackeys, so to speak), she'll huff and she'll puff until the roof of City Hall threatens to fly away.

Herzonner must beware that she is creating an atmospheric condition in Frederick that many believe makes it an inevitable that the wind in three years will be that of the voters blowing her out of City Hall with the hope of yet another "fresh approach."

Until that happens, Mr. Seal might endear himself more to Herzonner if he'd book more Irish dance troupes to perform - it might finally get her through the door of the Weinberg for something other than a meeting.

Wait, even better, bring in Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's Irish rock band.

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