Charter Review Public Engagement

The City of Frederick is embarking on a Charter Review process to review and recommend changes to the governing document for the The City. Public engagement in this process is essential, and the City's Charter Review Committee will be continuously seeking input from residents throughout the process. The Charter Review will consider changes in the following areas: Elections and Election Administration, Legislative Body and Structure of Government, Charter Sections to be Relocated and Procedural Issues. 

The Charter Review Committee has published its draft report of recommendations. The recommendations are outlined below. Residents are able to view the full report here. 

Recommendation 1: City Structure Change: the Structure of the City Government to establish a separate executive (Mayor) and legislative branch (City Council).  

Recommendation 2: Legislative Body Name: The City’s legislative body shall be known as the City Council.

Recommendation 3:  Size of City Council: The City Council shall have seven elected members, some of whom shall be elected from election districts and others at large.  

Recommendation 4: City Council Districting: With appropriate study and input from election and demographics experts, the Mayor and Board shall embark on developing a new process for election of City Council members such that four of the members of the City Council shall be elected from election districts to be created and three members of the Council shall be elected at large (City wide).   

Recommendation 5: President of City Council: The President of the City Council shall be determined by vote of the members of the City Council and the position shall be held for the length of the term.  

Recommendation 6: Qualifications of Office: The Mayor and members of the City Council shall satisfy the qualifications for the office they hold for the entire time they are in office. We recommend that candidates for Mayor be at least 21 years of age and be residents and registered voters in the City. Candidates for City Council shall be at least 18 years of age and also be residents and registered voters in the City. A mayoral candidate, before seeking office, shall have been a resident of the City for 2 years and a candidate for the City Council shall have resided in the City for 1 year.  

Recommendation 7: Term Limits: The Charter shall be amended to provide that persons serving as Mayor shall be limited to two four-year terms (whether consecutive or not) and those serving as members of the City Council shall be limited to three four-year terms.  

Recommendation 8: Timing of Elections: The timing of City elections shall not be changed to coincide with the presidential or gubernatorial elections but shall remain an off-cycle City focused separate election. To ensure maximum voter turnout, the City shall send mail-in ballots to every eligible City voter for all primary and general elections.   

Recommendation 9: Ranked Choice Voting: The City shall give serious consideration to implementing Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in future City elections. The City’s Board of Supervisors of Elections shall be consulted and shall assist leadership of the City to determine the best approach for implementing RCV. The City also shall advocate to State election officials and to the Maryland Legislature that tools and/or legislation be created to permit implementation of RCV.   

Recommendation 10: Primaries: The City shall adopt a semi-open primary system. In this way, registered voters not affiliated with any political party shall be entitled to vote in City primary elections without having to declare an affiliation with any particular party.

Recommendation 11: Voting Rights: The City shall extend voting rights to noncitizen City residents. This will require the City to develop a separate voting roll of such persons.

Recommendation 12: Legislative Process: The Charter shall contain an established process (with timelines) for the introduction, consideration, public outreach and passage of proposed legislation, the veto thereof, and the overriding of any veto.

Recommendation 13: Compensation for Elected Officials: The Charter shall provide for the appointment of a Compensation Commission on an established schedule (at least every 4 years) that would have the responsibility to evaluate and set the compensation paid to the Mayor and to the members of the City Council. Implementation of any change recommended by the Commission would not take effect until after the next election.

Recommendation 14: Mayoral Appointees: The Mayor shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the City Council, a Chief Administrative Officer who shall assist the Mayor in running the day-to-day operations of the City.

Recommendation 15:  Mayoral Authority of City Employees: The Mayor also shall appoint executives to the highest level position responsible for each of the following functions: Legal, Police, Public Works, Budget and Administration, Economic Development, and Housing and Human Services, but with the advice and consent of the City Council.  

Recommendation 16: City Council Authority of City Employees: City Council members shall not be involved in the day-to-day operations of running the City and, except as noted in the prior recommendation and as to employees hired specifically to serve the Council, shall not have responsibility for appointment, hiring or review of City employees.  

Recommendation 17: Charter Review Schedule: The Charter shall contain a provision that requires a review of the Charter not less frequently than every eight years.

Recommendation 18:  Ethics Provision: The Charter should be amended to recite that the City has an Ethics Ordinance and that the provisions thereof shall apply not only to all the employees of the City but to elected officials as well.

Recommendation 19: Charter Language Revisions: Certain Charter Sections should be eliminated, moved to the City Code and other language changes should be considered to include the following listed, below. 

Residents are encouraged to provide feedback on the recommendations. Feedback can be provided via the form below, or by emailing  

  1. Elections and Election Administration
  2. Sections to Relocate
  3. Procedural Issues
  4. Legislative Body and Structure of Government

Issues being considered

Throughout the charter review process, the Charter Review Committee identified opportunities to improve elections and election administration in The City of Frederick. Several of the items discussed included but were not limited to:

Residents can learn more about this topic as the Committee discusses it on April 20. Meetings can be viewed in City Hall, Channel 99, or at

Residents can find more information about the make-up of the committee, agendas and minutes, and track the committee's efforts here.

  1. Provide Feedback

Charter Review Feedback Form

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