Membership Requirement Changes For County Boards and Commissions Before The Frederick County Council

That issue generated considerable discussion on Tuesday.

Frederick, Md (KM) There was considerable discussion Tuesday night by the Frederick County Council on a resolution removing requirements for members of county boards and commissions. Currently, applicants must be bona fide county residents, and be registered to vote.

The measure is proposed by Council Vice President Kavonte Duckett. “It makes us, in my opinion, a more welcoming and forward thinking county by removing language that I don’t think needs to be in our current code,” he said.

“The current code” he’s referring to is Resolution 12-09 which was passed in 2012 by the last Board of  County Commissioners. It requires all applicants who want to serve on county boards and commissions to be residents of the county as well as registered voters.

Councilman Mason Carter said he supports part of this new resolution. “I don’t have a problem with someone serving on a board or commission that is not a registered voter,” he said. “But I do believe that we need to keep in place a resident requirement because I think these people need to have a stake in the decisions and suggestions and the recommendations that they make to our Council or to another body.”

Councilman Jerry Donald says it may not be a good idea to limit the membership to just those who are bona fide county residents. “We have people who come and speak before us who don’t live here, but they have significant businesses here. and they really are  tied to the community but they may live cross the line some place. There also pushing them out of the possibilities,”: he said.

His colleague, Councilman Steve McKay, has some reservation, especially when it comes to doing away with the county residency requirement. “I want to know what problem we’re trying to fix in terms of residency,” he wondered. “Are we turning people away who want to participate, but are unable. We often say it’s so hard to get applicants to our boards and commissions. Is that in part because we’re turning them away because they initially expressed interested and ‘sorry, you don’t live here.'”

The Council is expected to discuss this issue at a future date.

By Kevin McManus