Council President Otis Answers Criticism Leveled At Him

He says he concentrates on doing the people’s business.

In recent weeks, Frederick County Council President Bud Otis has had a lot of sometimes nasty and stinging criticism leveled against him and his leadership. “It’s not fun when people are saying things, and you know good and well what actually happens,” Otis said in an interview with WFMD News. “I sleep well at night. I’m able to not take anything personal. I feel sorry for people who are making incorrect statements, and I can’t take it any further than that.”

Otis has come under strong criticism by Councilman Kirby Delauter, who  has said that Otis has threaten he, his family and his business. But in statement, Otis says he has only met twice with Delauter since they both took office in December, 2014, and neither his family nor his business was discussed.

Delauter has also said Otis will not place any of his items on the agenda. But, again in a statement, Otis says that’s “totally false.” He said Delauter has never brought an item to him for inclusion on the agenda.

“I’m willing to sit down and talk with anybody on certain issues,” says Otis. “And yet I don’t see people wanting to do that. They’d rather make a little hay and chew me up a little bit rather than sit down and try to straighten things out.”

Recently, Otis announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, and had registered as an independent. “It was extremely tough,” he said about the decision. In a statement, Otis said he left the local GOP because he was “forced” to do so by “mean spirited personal” attacks on him “led in part, I believe, by the local chairman.”

Councilman Billy Shreve is the local Republican Party Chairman who says Otis made a deal with the Democrats on the board to be elected President. Shreve also said Otis abandoned the Republican Party after he was sworn in, and has been used as a “puppet” by the Democrats.

But Otis says he’s received a lot of support after he announced he was leaving the GOP. “If I would give you the names of the people who called me, prominent people in Frederick, who said ‘Bud, we’re going to go unaffiliated as well,'” he said. ” There are a lot of people totally disgusted with inter-party fighting and not looking at the issue ‘what are you going to do for me tomorrow.’ That’s where we’ve to focus. These petty little things got to be put aside,” he said.

Otis also says he will run for re-election in 2018, either as an independent or a Republican.

He and the other six members of the County Council are serving at a time when Frederick County has transitioned over to a charter form of government. While the county has undergone a lot fits and starts, Otis says charter government is working well. “I think the County is better off right now where they’re at,” he said. “It has a broader section of people who were elected.” Unlike the commissioner form of government, where the board was elected at-large, five of the Council members were elected from districts. Two, including Otis, were elected at large.  Otis says these Council members are out in their districts and they see what’s going on there.

When Frederick County went over to charter government, it consulted with other counties on how they made the transition to a county executive and a county council. They told Frederick County that it’s most difficult on people who served as commissioners before. Commissioners are legislators and administrators, and council members are just legislators.

“The form of government that was selected works,” he says. “We’re proving it. The majority is moving legislation, is moving the budget, is  getting things done.”

Otis says charter government will work, even when new members fill those Council seats and serve as County Executive in the future. “I have great confidence in Democracy, how our government is formed,” he said. “We have tremendous people in this community. I’m sure they’ll be some great people who serve on the Council as time goes on.”