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June 28, 2012

Nearing The End

Joan Marie Aquilino

As you read this, the Frederick County Charter Writing Board will have just completed its last formal public hearing in the process of offering the voters a new form of government.


Charter Home Rule Government is just what it says; it brings government back home and allows you the voter to rule your own destiny.  The single best part is that it stops the rule by committee and makes one person accountable. The council controls the legislation and the County Executive implements it. The voters voices come in when they disagree, want change, elections, mandated public hearings at both levels, a continuing review process and referendum ability. This cannot be done under the commissioner form of government.


Also, there is an ongoing process of review for Charter Home Rule.  The community reviews the document the first time at Year Five and then afterwards every 10 years, affording the opportunity to keep things fresh and relevant. Seriously, how much more exciting could it be knowing you always have an opportunity for input into your local government and how it affects your life and that of your communities.


I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for the public that have so willingly engaged with the board in crafting this document. It is the most thoroughly vetted, transparent endeavor I can proudly say I’ve been a part of in recent memory.


The product we will send to the ballot box on November 6 has been nothing less than a labor of love for this county of ours and a document meant and made for you, the people of Frederick County, a living breathing document that always has the ability for change if you the voters desire to do so.


The board members and the public have all discussed so many different issues, but, in the end everyone acknowledges that the first and most important aspect is to bring Charter Home Rule to Frederick County. We may not all agree on every single aspect of it, but the most important aspects are to safe guard our county from outside governance wherever we can, and that task I feel we have accomplished.


The best form of government is that which is closest to its people. The next best aspect is to keep it lean. We’ve kept the cost of switching as cost neutral as possible. At least now you’ll have a fighting chance by at least three methods, those you put in the elected positions and also through your voice in referendums and reviews. This isn’t even touching on the mandated public hearings and reviews incorporated throughout the document.


We’ve put in safeguards to keep both the legislative and executive branches open and constantly talking to the public and giving the public opportunities to talk back, too. Shortly we will be taking our final board vote and preparing the document to be delivered and posted on the Internet for everyone to read.


My wish is that everyone takes the time to read and digest the entire document, which is well less than 30 pages and a very simple read, even I can understand it.


Over the next few months you will have plenty of opportunities to discuss issues you’d like with board members. Ultimately it comes down to whether you want to be governed by a five headed, dysfunctional committee all of equal power, along with our county staff which has five bosses who could be leading them all in different directions – OR -- Charter Home Rule, which all our municipalities enjoy now.


You’ll have a person at the top where the buck will literally stop; and you’ll have the opportunity to bring to the voters issues that you desire. All I can do – along with the other members of this Charter Writing Board and our supporters – is bring you the information and hope you are as excited as I am about bringing control back to the voters of Frederick County.


Visit this link to explore all that is Charter for Frederick County:  Frederick County Charter Home Rule website.


You can reach all the Charter Board members through this site and we’ll all be happy to assist you in any way possible. Also visit us on Facebook at Charter Board (Frederick Co., MD). Keep watch on the website as to where we’ll be speaking next.


. . . . .'til next time . . .


As always, I’d love to hear from you; so, let me know what’s on your mind by emailing, or contacting me directly at


“Just Joan” saying, be safe and “don’t believe everything you think.”


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