This despite strong support expressed by citizens during a Wed. workshop.
Frederick, Md (KM) Despite strong support expressed for keeping him on the job, Frederick’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen have decided to let Community Action Agency Director Mike Spurrier go. He was given 28 days to wrap up his affairs at the Agency. That decision was made in a close door meeting following a weekly workshop.
During that workshop, a large number of citizens expressed support for Spurrier, including Diane Fink, a member of the Boards of the Community Action Agency and the Friends for Neighborhood Progress. She noted that in an e-mail from Spurrier, the Mayor said he wanted to take the Community Action Agency in a new direction. “If that is his desire, I think the proper way to handle this would have been to come to the board, talk with us on the board and let us know what that direction is and what is his vision, and let’s have a discussion about it,” she said.
Another supporter was Mary Costello, who says she and her husband, Larry, have been volunteering at the Community Action Agency for 10 or more years. “In that time, Larry and I have worked with Mike and found him to be an effective and compassionate leader, responsive to the community that he serves, and also responsive to the community at large,”
The Mayor and Aldermen also heard from Frederick County State Senator Ron Young, who hired Spurrier in 1988 when he was Mayor. “He has started scores of new programs to benefit the poor and the downtrodden, those needing help. He brought more money to the city than any employee in the history of the city. He has brought more services to those without services than anyone,” he said.
But not everyone was supportive of keeping Spurrier as Community Action Agency Director. Dan Shykind, a co-owner of Downtown Piano Works, says his business is located near the Community Action Agency, and he sees a lo of what’s going on. “Our daily view has included badged FCAA employees laughing, high-fiving and chatting with people drinking out of paper bags, and at times barely able to stand,” he said. “This level of tolerance cascades from the top leadership down and it’s neither acceptable nor tolerable.” Shykind called for new leadership at the agency.
Also showing support for new leadership was Beth Redmon, who says she’s noticed a lot of loitering, drug use and police activity near the Center. “We’re not without compassion. But our safety and our right to live peaceably is just as important as those who are living at and staying at the shelter,” she said.
In an e-mail, Spurrier said he went to the Mayor’s office last week,and was given a two-page termination letter. But the Mayor offered him the opportunity to resign or retire. Spurrier turned that down, and, in the e-mail, encouraged citizens to come to the Board of Aldermen workshop and express their support.
During the workshop, Mayor O’Connor said public comment is usually not taken during that meeting. He said he would allow it, but would not comment on any personnel matters before the city. He also would not answer a citizen’s question about what sort of vision he had for the Community Action Agency, claiming it’s not appropriate.
By Kevin McManus