it will go before the voters in a referendum in November.
A document outlining a charter government for Frederick County was presented to the Commissioners on Tuesday night.
The charter was drafted following 17 months of work by a charter writing board. President Ken Coffey says if it passes, a charter form of government would give the citizens a certain measure of independence from the Maryland General Assembly, which is where the county must go now in order to get enabling legislation to carry out certain tasks. "It gives the people of this county, to the greatest extent possible, home rule. So that the people of this county can enjoy the benefits of such a form of government."
The charter was presented to the Commissioners with a letter signed by all members and alternates of the charter board.
The document calls for a county council, composed of 7 members: five are elected from districts, and two are chosen at large. Members can serve no more than three consecutive terms. They will be paid $22,500 annually.
"This is going to be the first time that Frederick County is going to have an executive," says Board Secretary Debra Borden. "We have decided that this executive is going to be an elected executive. This person is going to be elected at-large." She says the executive will serve no more than two consecutive terms, and be paid at least $95,000 annually.
She says the executive shall be a US citizen, a resident of Frederick County and a registered voter of the county for at least two years prior to the election.
"The transition provisions we've provided for would allow the Commissioners to serve out their current terms," says Borden. "And then the very next election, our local elections would include a county executive." The current board's terms ends in November, 2014.
If the voters approve the charter, Borden says the new form of government would take affect on December 1st, 2014.
The last time a charter form of government was proposed was in 1991. The voters turned it down at that time. Charter board members say it could pass this time because the board has engaged the public in the process of drafting the document, and has done a lot of outreach.