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July 25, 2003

And The Wheel Keeps Spinning, Spinning, Spinning

David 'Kip' Koontz

Water. It has been a big issue. We had little last year. Construction in the city was stopped. People lost jobs.

Attempts were made to locate new sources of water.

Some got water. Others didn't.

Ideas were bandied about as to how to satisfy the city's increasing need for water, while we sit years away from drawing additional millions of gallons from the Potomac River.

One solution reached was that Frederick City worked out a plan with the county to obtain water from the Potomac under the county's permit - with the county drawing the water and sharing it with the city.

Well, it seems that unbeknownst to the county commissioners, Herzonner Jennifer Dougherty, through City Engineer Paul Lee, requested that the City of Frederick be listed on the permit and have the division of water between the city and county specified by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

What seemed to be a "done deal" had been complicated.

Mike Marshner, of the county's division of utilities, has been quoted as saying, "the city's move to get their allocation on the permit complicated matters."

The permit would have been issued as early as July 11th, had the city, i.e. Herzonner Dougherty, not made the move she did.

Still Herzonner insisted, in what conjures up images of her stomping around like Godzilla crushing through Tokyo or the Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, that the city's move was doing nothing to delay the permit approval, though she is seemingly the only one who saw it that way.

Sources claim that the MDE had said that the city's move did complicate matters and postpone approval -- with MDE spokesman, Rich McIntyre, reported as saying, "the parties couldn't agree on language."

Well, if there was no agreement on language, how could Herzonner insist that things were on track?

Herzonner's move outraged County Commission President Lennie Thompson, while raising the ire of other county officials.

Even Commissioner Jan Gardner, thought by many to be a part of the new "Good 'ol Gal System" spoke out against the city's machinations.

About nine days after the city attempted to have itself put on the permit, the MDE granted the county its permit, declining to allocate any of the water specifically to Frederick City.

Now, Herzonner is claiming that Frederick City is listed as a user, which to her seems to satisfy the same criteria as being on the permit.

Who cares if Frederick City has its name in big 48-point type on the permit or not, as long as the contract negotiated with the county assures the city gets a share of the allocated water?

Seems only Herzonner does, promising "'hardball' negotiations with the city's best interests at heart."

That would seemingly be a first, Herzonner putting the city's interests before her own.

But does Herzonner Dougherty actually think she is accomplishing anything positive by posturing with threats at this stage in the game?

One would think, after she herself admitted the "consternation" the move of attempting to put the city on the permit caused, she would back off and enter into negotiations a little less self-assured, cocky and arrogant.

But it isn't her style.

So let's just hope that in her attempt to "put the city's best interests at heart" her "hardball" negotiations don't leave the City of Frederick, parched.

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