“Question D” – The County Ordinance

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The truth about politics is that it seldom resists a modest level of simplicity. The battle that once waged over the binding arbitration language in the Frederick County Charter as Question D was really simplicity at its finest. Question D was passed with over 70% approval. The Frederick County Career Firefighters union won a thorough victory for their membership.

In all honesty this writer was completely against binding arbitration being enshrined in the county charter. There were several pieces written on the subject by like-minded folks like Harry Covert and Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. A lot of voices spoke out that such language could jeopardized our elected official’s ability to represent the best interests of the Frederick County taxpayer.

Most local citizens want their firefighters to be safe and have the proper equipment and time off and genuinely pleasant standard of living. They are our friends and family. Logical people can agree in principle yet disagree in the practice. In the end our firefighters deserve our thanks and our support.

The ballot measure passed largely because of the skillfully executed referendum efforts on behalf of the local Frederick County Career Firefighters Union. The grass roots endeavor was a daunting task yet the firefighters union remained calm and focused and in the end won the battle

There are a couple of times when the dust settles on a political spat, that a few particular politicians seek to take ownership of achievements they didn’t earn of their own accord. These characters tend to embellish their mediocre political achievements along the way.

This trend is blatantly transparent when politicians attempt to piggyback off of popular grass roots movements. Many of the local politicians were happy to be progressive politicians endorsed by the Frederick County Career Fire Fighters Union.

One clear beneficiary of the career firefighter’s union endorsement in the 2018 general election was Frederick County Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater. She paraded herself as a union member willing to leading the effort of seeing that our firefighters were well represented on the Frederick County Council.

There is a current battle going on between the local career firefighter’s union, as the stakes have been recently raised between Councilmember Fitzwater and the President of the Frederick County Career Firefighter’s union. The union has accused her of “playing politics with public safety”.

Councilmember Fitzwater countered the criticism by saying that the citizens of Frederick County “elected me and the rest of the County Council members into office with the expectation that we would make fiscally responsible decisions that positively affect our entire county”.

It would be hard not to understate how this battle was inevitable. It’s nice to see Frederick County Councilmember Fitzwater holding the line as a few of her colleagues start inquiring about some the fiscal questions that were brought up during the fight against binding arbitration. The Frederick County Council is facing the heat of authoring binding arbitration language for a county ordinance. Language now mandated in the Frederick County Charter.

In the end it’s hard to tell what victory will look like. If taxes don’t increase under the Question D ordinance language, that’s a small victory for the taxpayers of Frederick County.

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Jason Miller and his wife Amanda have resided in Mount Airy since 2011. Originally from the small town of Peru Indiana, Jason attended the University of Southern Indiana after High School in 1999. He joined the Army National Guard and volunteered for active duty after 9-11. Jason served as an Intelligence Analyst in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and South Korea. He was honorably discharged at Fort Meade in 2009. Jason was then privately contracted as an intelligence analyst focusing on counter-terrorism. He served as a corporate staffing manager for SINTEL Group Inc. before returning to his current studies at McDaniel College.