Council Approves Legislation Establishing Sustainable Monocacy Commission

A binding arbitration bill has also been introduced.


Frederick, Md (KM) A Sustainable Monocacy Commission will be established. The Frederick County Council on Tuesday approved a bill setting up the 11-member panel.

The Commission will make recommendations  on ways to maintain the water quality of the river and its tributaries, and to educate the public about the environmental, cultural and recreational resources  of the Monocacy.

During a meeting a few weeks ago, the Council made amendments to the legislation, increasing the number of members from nine to 11. The panel will consist of two people who own property along the Monocacy; three individuals who  do not reside on property near the river; one elected official from the City of Frederick and the County Council, or a designee; a representative from the agricultural community; three individuals with education expertise or experience in  the fields of biology, ecology, chemistry, earth sciences environmental education, natural resources and related fields; and one member from the general public. The Council also agreed to include a preamble to the legislation establishing the Commission.

Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer sponsored the measure on behalf of the County Executive. She said she was concerned about the amendments made to the composition of the Commission. “In light of wanting to move this ahead and get this committee started, and moving ahead with their mission, according to the bill, I’m going to go ahead and vote for this today,” she said.

The vote was 6-0 with Councilman Phil Dacey absent.

In other business, Councilwoman Jessica Fitizwater introduced a bill to allow for binding arbitration between the county and the fire fighters union. This action follows a Charter amendment approved by the voters on November 6th, 2018.

In the event of an impasse between the county and the fire fighters, both sides would contact the American Arbitration Association for a list of neutral labor arbitrators who are members of the National Academy of Arbitrators, and maintain a residence within 150-miles of Frederick, Md.

The bill was discussed in a workshop last week, and Councilwoman Fitzwater says she added a clause in the legislation which says any memorandum of understanding reached by the two sides  would not prohibit paid fire fighters from joining and being active in  volunteer fire and rescue companies. “There was never  any intent with this bill to interfere with that,” she said. “But there were concerns shared that in other jurisdictions, things have perhaps happened .that we wanted to make sure there was actual language in there to prevent that.”

The County Council is expected to schedule a hearing on this bill.


By Kevin McManus