It contains recommendations on better ways for county government to function.
Frederick, Md (KM) After several months of work, a transition report for Frederick County has been completed. County Executive Jessica Fitzwater released the report during a public information briefing on Monday night at Winchester Hall. . “It’s finally here,” she said to some of the citizens who helped prepared the document.
Among the recommendations are streamlining the permitting process; working with Frederick County Public Schools to recruit and retain the best educators; encouraging a culture of innovation in county government; establishing a division of housing; strengthening the healthcare workforce; focusing on recruiting and retaining first responders; and developing a greenways corridor and infrastructure plan.
Fitzwater says many of these recommendations center around diversity. “To be intentional about our work with diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging,” she said. “To make sure that we’re not just using them as buzzwords. But that we’re really intentional about incorporating them into everything that we’re doing in county government.”
She also says the recommendations also center around working with multiple stakeholders. “Many of the recommendations require us to review whether certain pieces of legislation we have, regulations or processes, and we know that the ultimate outcomes of these review will be much better if we involve stakeholders along the way,” Fitzwater says.
These recommendations came from more than 130 citizens serving on one of eight committees which deal with economy and jobs; education and workforce development; government innovation; housing and quality of life; public heath and human welfare; public safety; and sustainability, infrastructure and transportation.
In November, 2022, County Executive Fitzwater appointed Rick Weldon, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and Toni Bowie, founder and managing partner o0f MazLife, a Frederick-based company focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, as co-chairs of her transition team.
Now that the report has been released, Fitzwater says the next step is deciding which recommendations to implement first. “Which ones are the low hanging fruit that we can do quickly that we’re already working on in county government, and that we can get done in year one,” she said. “Which ones are going involve more of that stakeholder engagement where we might need to set up some workgroups to do bigger reviews of regulations or processes.”
She also says the public can keep up to date on the progress being made. “We are working internally on a tracker that we’ll have on the website so people see–you all and the public–the progress that we’re making on these recommendations so we can be held accountable,” says Fitzwater.
In addition, Fitzwater says she will bring back the citizens who participated in coming up with recommendations next year, March, 2024, to talk about how the progress in implementing these recommendations.
The Transition Report 2023 is available on the county’s website at FrederickCountyMD.gov/Transition.
By Kevin McManus