Otis Chosen For Second Term As Council President

The vote was not without some contention.

Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Council on Tuesday re-elected Bud Otis for another two-year term as Council President, but it was not without some dissension.

Prior to the vote, Councilman Tony Chmelik read a statement outlining complaints against Otis for another term as President. He said “the leadership” has not reached to him as a member of the council. “However, I have reached out to the leadership with my concerns about being unable to communicate with staff on legislative matters  germane to my functioning effectively as a legislator, and a duly elected official. But the status quo has continued.”

He also said Otis is only pushing the County Executive’s agenda. “This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It is, as I see it, the leadership being unwilling to push the slightest bit against the executive branch less they perceived as obstructionist,” he said.

But Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer said there is some push in the meetings she and Council President Otis have with the County Executive. “While it may not be that we publicly challenge her, there are a lot of discussions, and compromises and negotiations that take place,” she said.

And Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater said Council President Otis is approachable. “I have gone to Council President Otis–and he can confirm this–with concerns in the past about things like communication and flow of information. We’ve had really wonderful discussions. I feel like I have been  heard. And I have seen changes in how information is  shared, and I think we’re on the right track to keep improving this,” she said.

In addition to voting for himself, Otis also won the support of Councilmembers Fitzwater, Jerry Donald and MC Keegan-Ayer.

Councilmen Chmelik, Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve voted for Billy Shreve as the Council President. “Not once have we challenged the County Executive,” said Delauter. “You can agree or disagree whether we should or we shouldn’t, but we are a check and balance in this government. Right now, she writes the checks and we have no balance.”

A similar comment was echoed by Councilman Shreve. “Nominating Bud Otis for leadership of this board shows a couple of things. It shows that Jan owns this board, at least owns the Democrats. And Bud is firmly entrenched with Jan Gardner’s Administration,” he said.

Otis was a Republican, but changed his party affiliation  to independent earlier this year

In a separate vote, the Council also chose MC Keegan-Ayer as Vice President for another two-year term. She had declined a nomination from Councilman Chmelik to be Council President because she said her schedule  didn’t permit her to do the job as President.

Councilmen Chmelik, Delauter and Shreve voted for Chmelik as Vice President.

By Kevin McManus