As with most local Leagues, the Frederick County League continues to have an increase in membership, with approximately 30 percent of the new members being men. The other exciting things in our League recently have been our first City election forum co-sponsored with The United Way, ethics reform, and our 287g (a partnership between Frederick’s Sheriff’s Office and ICE/Homeland Security) study group.
Frederick is now the second largest city in the State of Maryland and our recent city election had many key issues at stake despite the low voter turnout. However, there was a large audience for the joint Forum focused exclusively on the ALICE Report with all but one candidate for both the alderman and the mayoral forum participating. This report, which was also presented at a membership meeting, shows significant disparity between the federal poverty level determination and the sustainability level for affordable housing, transportation, and food within Frederick County. All questions addressed to the candidates dealt with these key issues for our citizens. The linkage with The United Way will be continued with our upcoming State and County elections.
Two projects have been our League’s focus over the past year. Since the conversion to charter government, a goal has been to improve the ethics laws and functioning within county government which has been supported by the County Executive and most of the County Council. Results that involved the League include, an independent nominating process for the County’s Ethics Commission which is chaired by the League under the direction of Mary Ellen Rhoderick. This is the first such process in Maryland. Recently, League members worked with the County Executive and one of our state senators to develop a bill which will continue to improve our Ethics Laws, for presentation during the 2018 General Assembly. It turned out to be a perfect example of compromise on the part of all parties to obtain the desired outcome.
Immigration, specifically the 287g ordinance, is the second major project for Frederick this year as Frederick County is one of only three (3) counties in the state with this function which permits local law enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone arrested in the County. If the individual is found not be to here legally they are detained and turned over eventually to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The work group’s goal is to determine the social and financial impact of 287g on citizens of the county. This project may initially result in an educational process leading to a consensus study.
President, LWV Frederick County