All appointments to acting positions made by the mayor are now limited to a 90-day term after the Frederick Board of Aldermen approved a change in the city charter.
The five aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to clarify language restricting the duration of temporary positions unless approved by the board.
The move came in response to Mayor Randy McClement’s (R) appointment of former Alderman Joe Baldi to be his acting executive assistant after the departure of Executive Assistant Josh Russin in November.
Baldi has since removed his name from consideration for the position, according to city Public Information Officer Susan Harding.
Baldi, who was to have started on Nov. 21, did not immediately return calls for comment, and McClement did not discuss the issue during the meeting.
The board already approved the appointment of Capt. Thomas Ledwell as acting city police chief on Nov. 26 during a closed session, so the term limit won’t apply to that position. A national search for a police chief could take much longer than 90 days, Alderman Karen Young (D) said at the meeting.
“We know that position is going to take four to six months at a minimum to do a national search for,” Young said.
Alderman Shelley Aloi (R) said the term limit move was made to clarify language in the charter.
“Without this charter amendment, a mayor could appoint a chief of police to an acting position indefinitely, which means there would be no other approval necessary,” she said. “This does close that loophole in the charter.”
Alderman Kelly Rusell (D) agreed, noting that acting appointments like Ledwell’s can be for longer periods if the board is involved in the decision.
“It’s only 90 days if we don’t have a say,” she said. “It can be indefinite if we have a say.”
In other action, the aldermen Thursday also voted 4-0 to transfer a 12-acre portion of the Hargett Farm property to Frederick County Public Schools.
Aloi abstained, saying she was against giving land paid for by taxpayers to the school system because that effectively taxes residents twice since they already pay to support schools.
The city purchased the 148-acre site in 2009 for $18 million.
School Facilities Director Ray Barnes said the school system would be working with the city to include areas of the school, such as its the gym and athletic fields, for use in city athletic leagues.
He previously said that ground would be broken for the new school in 2015.