The Young family reigns in a new era for Government in Frederick County
One could hear a grand sigh of relief from Frederick County’s business and real estate communities last night echoing from the local watering holes where voters gathered to view yesterday’s local election results.
There are four business friendly County Commissioner candidates (Blaine Young, Paul Smith, Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter – all republicans) who were swept into office along with fellow republican incumbent David Gray … who in my opinion only won because of the “R” after his name.
There are high hopes that this new administration can change the culture within Winchester Hall to one that respects and values what the private sector does for the quality of life in our community.
After well over a decade of County government slapping the business community with layers of regulations and insurmountable hurdles, it appears that fairness may well return. The problem is that a lot of work will have to be done to unravel the mischievousness of the years that Thompson, Gardner and then Hagen were ruling the roost.
In the twelve years since they began their effort to protect the citizens of Frederick County from the “evilness of the business community,” there has been a reasonable amount of turnover in the ranks of County government employees. The same has held true for political appointees serving on oversight boards, such as the Frederick County Planning Commission, which often has the final say in site plan approvals for growing businesses seeking to relocate to Frederick or expand their current operation.
As I have stated in previous posts to the MacRo Report Blog, this mischievous crew brought with them a culture of distrust of and rigidity to the business community that in many ways permeated into several members of the rank and file.
There are so many examples of this, but the most recent one that was brought to my attention this morning in a call I received from a major office building developer who has over $100million in office and industrial real estate investment in Frederick County. He told me of a case of where a nationally based business school sought a site for a new branch location in one of his office parks. It seems that after much consideration by county staff, there just “is not a place in that property’s zoning” for this type of use. The idea of “flexibility in finding a way to make it work was not even considered,” he stated. In the end the school looked in another county.
Think about that a moment. What does a business school do? It trains workers to provide them with skills to find local jobs … and our county regulations do not provide the ability for such an operation to be located in that well known business park? Go figure.
Over time business after business has experienced similar barriers … and what happens? They tell their friends and those tell their friends that Frederick County is not business friendly. This must change … and now there is hope! Yep, I said “Hope and Change!”
So a lot is expected of the Young administration – very critical and some hard decisions. The first thing it must do is to assess the business friendliness of county staff and appointees and require changes in attitudes of certain personnel … or replace those who are too far gone.
Author’s note: Along with Blaine Young being the top vote getter in the County Commissioner race, his brother Brad was the top voter in the contest for the four vacant seats on Board of Education … and it appears that father Ron Young has narrowly defeated long standing State Senator Alex Mooney for a seat in Annapolis. Congratulations go out to each one of them!
The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland.