Mayor O’Connor Appoints Steering Committee As Part Of His Transition

He’s says he’ll set up work groups to focus on specific issues.


Frederick, Md (KM). On his first full day on the job, Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor announced the formation of a steering committee. The panel will help with the transition to the 62nd Administration. “We’re building up our priorities based on the things that we talked about during the campaign, with civic engagement and community activism, with economic development and raising our economic opportunity across the city, and sustainability as well,” he said.

During his first media briefing on Friday, O’Connor said the committee will be co-chaired by Alderwoman Kelly Russell and local businessman Jim Racheff, who helped the county transition to a charter from of government.

Other members are Elizabeth Cromwell, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce; Ted Gregory, CPA and local business executive; and Ted Luck, who lives in Clover Ridge and worked with the Frederick County Public School System and in higher education administration.

“We are putting together, forming a number of work groups that will look at various aspects of the city, the city and its relationship with our community and non-profit partners and the things that we’re trying to accomplish as a city,” he said.

The work groups will deal with issues such as civic engagement, communications and 21st Century technology, economic resilient, expanding opportunity and city operations and organizations, the Mayor says.

He notes that he has no pre-conceived notions about the operations of the city and whether any changes are needed. “I want the work groups to feel comfortable, and I want to the senior leadership of the city of Frederick to feel comfortable as well that they can use these work groups as resources to share honestly their thoughts and observations about what’s happening in the city of Frederick,  and where changes or alterations or keeping things the same makes the most sense and will work for us,” says O’Connor.

On another issue, Mayor O’Connor responded to a question about the proposed downtown hotel and conference center. He told citizen Peter Samuel that he will be forthcoming with any information about this project. “We are going to be as open and transparent as we can with regards to how that process will unfold,” he said. “We will comply with the Maryland Open Meetings Act and Public Information Acts in terms of how we handle all terms of that project.”

Samuels told O’Connor that in many instances, a lot of discussions about the hotel and conference center were held behind closed doors.

The downtown hotel and conference center is proposed for property along East Patrick Streets near Carroll Street, and will include the former News-Post building. Preliminary design calls for 180 rooms and about 20,000 square feet of meeting space. There are also 160 to 170 parking spaces.

Supporters of the project say it will attract a lot of meeting and convention business which has bypassed the city. Opponents say too much taxpayer money is being put into it, and if it fails, the city and the county will be on the hook.


By Kevin McManus