Frederick News-Post Begins Series on Charter County Efforts

An October 21 Frederick News-Post article begins a series on the history of Frederick County’s efforts to change from a commissioner form of government to a charter form of government.  The series will also discuss the recent transitions of other counties, including Cecil and Dorchester, into charter counties.  The article discusses the unsuccessful 1991 effort to change Frederick County into a charter county.

On Nov. 5, 1991, charter supporters awaited the results in a small Church Street office, hoping voters would send a wave of change across Winchester Hall. It wasn’t long before it was time to face defeat and grab a beer.  …

Although the charter effort has collapsed several times in Frederick County, supporters say there’s more momentum for it this time.

Past failures stemmed from poor timing, low voter turnout and an agricultural community’s wariness of needless change, they argue.

But those opposing the move say flaws in this draft make it just as unpalatable as the 1991 version rejected by voters.  …

The article also considers whether the recent transition to the charter form of government by Cecil and Dorchester Counties will bode well for the Frederick effort.

With Dorchester and Cecil counties breaking a 30-year trend by approving charter in the last decade, a win in Frederick County could signal a sea change, one local government expert says.

“It was kind of a surprise to us when Dorchester passed, because it had been such a long time,” said Jeanne Bilanin, associate director for applied research and outreach at the University of Maryland’s Institute for Governmental Service and Research.

“If the charter passes in Frederick, I’d say you could start to say there’s a trend.”

October 23 Frederick News-Post article on charter county proposals in the 2009-2012 Sessions

October 23 Frederick News-Post article on new powers and authority if Frederick becomes a charter county

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