Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and the Frederick County Council were sworn in Dec. 3 at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. This is the second county executive and County Council sworn in since Frederick County voted to change to charter government.
Gardner (D), who is entering her second term, said, “The exciting and important work of good government continues. It’s time to be bold, innovative and proactive. I look forward to working with a fabulous new County Council who will bring experience and continuity, as well as new energy and ideas.”
The following day, when the new council held its first meeting, M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) was elected unanimously as president and Michael Blue (R) was elected vice president of the council. Republican District 2 Councilmember Steven McKay nominated Keegan-Ayer for president and Democratic District 4 Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater nominated Michael Blue for vice president. Keegan-Ayer served as vice president of the council the preceding four years.
Keegan-Ayer said, “I am truly honored that my colleagues would place their trust in me and my ability to run our meeting in a fair and balanced yet productive manner. I will do my utmost to ensure that I measure up to their expectations.”
Legislation she anticipates coming forward this year includes “the Monocacy River Plan and Livable Frederick … this spring. I can see legislation being brought forward to address the shortage of affordable housing in Frederick, economic development issues to bring more and higher paying jobs to Frederick, transportation issues, how to preserve more farmland and more.”
She added, “I am looking to bring back the solar legislation. I will be working with the farming community to see if there are any possible ways to tweak it to allow slightly more potential for solar development on agricultural land. I would be interested in working on legislation to allow farmers to further diversify so that they can continue to do what they love and maintain their land in agricultural production while remaining financially viable. And I plan to continue working with the city aldermen and mayor to investigate legislative ways to further incentivize the revitalization of the Golden Mile and the western side of Frederick City.”
Gardner said, “I am excited and look forward to working with the new County Council. Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer brings four years of experience as a councilmember, expertise in running meetings and a wealth of knowledge about county government. She is a good listener and consensus builder. I am confident she will do an outstanding job as council president. Council Vice-President Michael Blue is newly elected but has expressed an interest and commitment to non-partisanship and to getting the work of county government done in the best interest of the citizens who live here. The county looks to be well served by our new council.”
Keegan-Ayer echoed Gardner’s thoughts. “I am looking forward to working with Councilman Michael Blue as the vice president of the council. I think his calm, thoughtful and deliberative manner will provide an excellent balance and will serve as an additional stabilizing force,” she said.