James Rada, Jr.
(3/1) After four years of review,
rewriting, hearings, meetings and discussions,
the Thurmont Commissioners finally approved an
updated town charter.
“The charter review committee spent an
exhaustive amount of time on it,” Mayor Martin
For the most part, residents won’t notice a
change in town government. “Basically the
citizens wanted the same type of government,
which is the ‘weak mayor’ form of government,”
said Commissioner Bill Blakeslee.
The new charter will take effect in 50
days, which will give town officials time to
change over anything that needs to be changed
from the old charter to the new.
“I believe we need a transition plan which
involves examining our ordinances so we know
what needs to change,” Commissioner Glenn Muth
However, neither he nor any of the other
commissioners knew of any possible conflicts
that might need addressing.
For any new positions that the town is
required to have, Burns said, “We could
interim appoint someone and not be in
violation of the charter.”
Blakeslee said, “I can’t imagine anything
being in conflict with what we did here. What
we did here is broaden our ability to do
Commissioner Ron Terpko said that he felt
the powers and duties of the mayor were
changing in the new charter.
“This one’s much clearer,” he said. “With
what we have now, the person who’s held
accountable can’t even blow his own nose
without four people saying go ahead and do
Muth said he viewed the changes as creating
a stronger mayor’s office, but Burns said the
charter only clarifies the power his office
actually had all along under Maryland law.
Muth did find some numbering problems that
needed to be addressed in the final document.
The commissioners voted 3-1 to accept the
charter with the numbering changes. Muth was
the lone vote against the charter.
To address Muth’s opposition to the
charter, Burns said he wouldn’t be against
reviewing different sections of the charter
each year to make sure it stayed updated.
Muth agreed that was a good idea. “There’s
stuff in here that’s new and if it doesn’t
work it should be fixed,” he said.