No applicants yet for Weldon's Assembly seat
Frederick delegate looks forward to new role with Frederick city
As of Wednesday afternoon, no one had officially applied to fill the vacancy left by Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr. in the General Assembly, according to Kelly Schulz, chairwoman of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee.
On Dec. 18, Weldon (Unaffiliated-Dist. 3B) of Brunswick announced that he was stepping down from the Legislature and taking the position of executive assistant to Frederick city Mayor Randy McClement (R). Weldon represented both Frederick and Washington counties in Annapolis.
Members of the two counties' Republican central committees will choose Weldon's replacement because he was elected as a Republican, and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) gets to sign off on the selection.
Though four people have expressed interest in Weldon's House seat, the selection committee has yet to receive any applications, Schulz said.
"They may have intent to apply, but they have to complete an application and resume," she said. "We want to give everybody a fair shot."
Candidates interested in the position have until Tuesday to apply.
Within minutes of Weldon's announcement, Republican Michael Hough, who had already filed as a candidate for District 3B in the 2010 election, sent out a news release with his intentions of submitting an application for the position.
"I want you to know no matter what happens with this appointment process, I will be running for delegate in District 3B in 2010," Hough said in his news release. "This is obviously a very unexpected turn of events for my campaign and I ask for your prayers and support through this process."
Frederick County Commissioner Charles A. Jenkins (R) also has announced that he will run for delegate in District 3B in 2010.
In 2008, Weldon announced that he would leave the Republican Party and have no party affiliation. He said his focus would be on "ideas instead of ideology." That same year, Weldon announced that he would not seek another term in 2010.
Weldon will assume his new role in the McClement administration on Monday.
Weldon's responsibilities will include overseeing the Office of Economic Development, the Weinberg Center for the Arts, the Frederick Municipal Airport and the Frederick Community Action Agency. He also will oversee capital improvement projects and any other duties assigned by the mayor.
"In my experience, in local government the way to really find out what's going on is to sit down with people and have an honest conversation," Weldon said. "I intend to be doing a lot of listening in the next couple of weeks."
Weldon's colleagues in the Frederick delegation said they are sorry to see him leave so early.
"This is probably a good decision by the new mayor. Rick has had the experience, but sure he's going to be missed in Annapolis," delegation Chairman Paul Stull (R-Dist. 4A) of Walkersville said. "He has made a lot of contributions, and I wish him well in his new endeavors."
Weldon's District 3A colleagues had similar sentiments.
"I have mixed feelings," said Del. Sue Hecht (D-Dist. 3A) of Frederick. "I think Rick will be missed, but we knew he was leaving. He told me a while ago, and he asked me to keep it confidential."
Though Hecht is sad to see Weldon leave Annapolis, she is pleased he will be working for the city.
"We really need someone with the institutional memory and state, county and city experience," she said. "The mayor couldn't have picked anybody better. I think it's a great move on the mayor's part. I think Rick is a great asset and I've offered my help in any way."
Weldon worked as a city administrator in Brunswick from 1994 to 1999 and was the chief operations officer under former Frederick mayor Jim Grimes from 1999 to 2001. During that time, Weldon oversaw every major city department except police, legal and finance.
In his new role, Weldon will be paid $85,123.
"I think I'm going to get a chance to work for the most transparent city administration in the city's history," he said. "I'm really excited about that."
Staff writers Erica L. Green and Margarita Raycheva contributed to this report.
The Republican central committees of Frederick and Washington counties plan a multistep process to fill the seat of Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr. (Unaffiliated-Dist. 3B).
-A selection committee includes chairman Billy Shreve, vice chairman of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee; Dick Cheney, secretary of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee; Penny Pittman of the Washington County Republican Central Committee; Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith; and Sandy Dalton, clerk of the Frederick County Circuit Court.
-The final candidate must be approved by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
-The committee hopes to have a candidate approved by the start of the General Assembly session on Jan. 13.