Impact of Frederick County’s Change to Charter Government

Frederick County made the switch from a board of commissioners model to a county charter in 2014, establishing a seven member County Council and the county executive.

The reasoning behind this was for Frederick County to get a bigger seat at the table when it came to bargaining power and access. Viewpoints differ, but many believe this has given Frederick County more authority, including Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner.

From Frederick News Post:

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D) said charter government has given the county more authority, through her position, to address those in leadership positions and issues in Annapolis.

“I do think our viewpoint is carried in a much different way than when I was president of the Board of the County Commissioners [from 2006 to 2010], where it used to be you were one of a board, and you had to go back and get that opinion [from other commissioners],” Gardner said.

This idea has been echoed by Frederick County Senator Ron Young, who believes that it’s improved the standing of Frederick County in Annapolis, but also believes that due to the size of the county, there are still some limitations of power on statewide issues. Other counties, such as Carroll, have contemplated the switch from commissioner to charter government but have yet to take formal action.