Frederick’s Mayor Discusses Alderman Wilson, Pandemic Restrictions

He spoke Tues  on WFMD’s ‘Morning News Express.’

Mayor Michael O'Connor


Frederick, Md (KM) During Tuesday’s appearance on WFMD’s “Morning News Express,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor was asked about the investigation of the allegations against Alderman Roger Wilson of engaging in sexual harassment.  .

It started in December when Alderman Ben MacShane made the allegations on Facebook, after speaking with one of the alleged victims. The city had an outside organization conduct an investigation. The report’s conclusions were that Wilson’s actions against women did not constitute sexual harassment under federal and Maryland law.

Mayor O’Connor was asked about that. “I think the report speaks for itself. So I don’t really have more to say beyond what the investigator found and the people she spoke to,”: he said.

Since the allegations came out, there have been calls for Alderman Wilson to resign, and to end his campaign for Mayor. “With regards to whether or not Alderman Wilson should resign or not, that’s a decision for him and for his advisers an his family,” O’Connor said.

Alderman Wilson has denied the allegations. He also says he will not  step down from the Board of Aldermen,  or end his campaign for Mayor.

“This is about–and has always been about–affirming the ability of people to have their story told. And to listen to those concerns and to respond accordingly,” Mayor O’Connor says.

On another topic, the Mayor says he has mixed feelings when it comes to whether to offer incentives to encourage residents who have not done so to get their COVID shots. Last week, Governor Larry Hogan said Marylanders who get their COVID vaccinations are eligible to receive $40,000 from the Maryland Lottery between now and July 3rd, with a $40.000 prize being given away each day during that time. The grand prize awarded on July 4th will be $400,000.

The Mayor said everyone should get vaccinated without being offered incentives.   . “We just have to continue to push what the science tells us which is that these vaccinations are safe, and encourage people in every way that we can to do what they can to help their community,” he says.

On another topic, Mayor O’Connor was asked if businesses can refuse to serve customers who have not  received their COVID-19 shots. “I think private businesses have the right in that say way that they hang signs that say ‘No shoes, no shirt, no service,’ I think a private business is allowed to set whatever standard they want for their customers,” he says.

Last year, when the COVID-19 virus began spreading in Maryland, the Governor and other elected officials ordered  businesses, schools and other organizations to close to prevent the spread of the virus. States of emergency were also declared. A number of residents complained that these actions were unfair, and in some instances, were unconstitutional. Mayor O’Connor defended those actions. “I think there were other approaches that would have take that would not have had such a dramatic impact on businesses,” he said. “But in the moment when you’re making the decision.—the Governor, the County Executive, me, people who had to make decisions in the moment based on what we knew at the time–made the best decisions we could with public health as the driving factor.”

Many of those restrictions have been eased due as more residents receive their COVID-19 shots, and the number of new cases is declining.



By Kevin McManus