Much was reported and discussed about
The 7th World Weightlifting Championships for University and
College Students held at Mount Saint Mary's University,
Emmitsburg, Maryland on June 30 - July 3, and most of the
comments were positive. However, there were questions raised
as to the appropriateness of my involvement as a County
Prior to responding to those
questions, I would like to focus on the positive. Dr. Tamas
Ajan (President of the International Weightlifting Federation
and Member of the International Olympic Committee)
characterized the event "as the best organized international
competition" he attended in his forty years of service at the
international level. This success was made possible with the
100+ volunteers and 52 sponsors. God bless them.
Additionally, Frederick County was
selected over London, Paris and Tokyo to host its first
Olympic sport World Championship. The competition was
broadcasted live through out the World on the Web and
Frederick County is internationally known as a wonderful place
to visit. A record 138 athletes from 30 countries registered
to compete. The USA Men's Team won its first World Title while
the Women's Team placed second. The Mount Saint Mary's
University facilities and services were unparalleled by any
organization. The hospitality extended by the citizens of
Emmitsburg and Thurmont were considered by all as outstanding.
Most important, there was not a single injury.
Regarding the questions raised, this
was a PUBLIC event. My actions were never a secret as I
frequently reported on the progress at County Commissioner and
town meetings, held press conferences and sent numerous press
releases. Also, our website posted all relevant information, including schedule of events,
volunteers and sponsors.
Volunteers: I did not request a single
County employee to volunteer. Several approached me and asked
if they could assist and I enthusiastically welcomed their
help. Never did a single volunteer use County time or
materials to assist in planning or conducting this event and,
those who were at the event used approved leave.
Sponsors: I did not solicit a single
sponsor. However, sponsors and participation fees did fund
this event. Taxpayers did not underwrite one penny of the
cost. And yes, some local developers were sponsors. Of the 52
sponsors, 15 are developers. Of the $48,000 received in
sponsorships, $12,750 was received from developers. Thus,
developers did not heavily finance this event. All funds were
solicited by the Sponsor Committee and deposited in the USA
Weightlifting account. Also, if after all of the bills are
paid there is a positive account balance, this amount will be
donated to the Sheriff's Youth Ranch. Conversely, if there are
insufficient funds to pay the bills, I am personally liable.
County e-mail: Since taking office, I
received and responded to 350 e-mails and associated with the
event. They were essential in planning and hosting this
competition and did not cost the taxpayers a penny. Because I
considered my work to be County related, it was not personal.
I do not use County resources for personal reasons or personal
Use of County office: This event was
four years in the planning and I did the lion's share of the
work at Winchester Hall after taking office in December 2002.
I do not consider this inappropriate, as I believe my efforts
were for the good of Frederick County and a constituent
service to our citizens, especially those residing in the
northern part of our County. During this period and, in
particular from January to July 2004, I performed my County
Commissioner duties to the best of my ability while conducting
event related activities. The County always received my best
efforts by devoting 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week,
to being a Commissioner and Event Director.