Brunswick city manager, councilman resign in wake of election -- Gazette.Net







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Related story: Brunswick elects news mayor, fills three city council seats

Brunswick will have several openings to fill following the election of a new mayor for the first time in 12 years, while its former city manager may seek a return to Frederick County politics.

Councilman Tom Smith resigned his seat one day after the city’s election of Councilwoman Karin Tome as mayor on Aug. 7, and City Manager Rick Weldon followed suit Monday.

Tome took office Tuesday night, replacing three-term Mayor Carroll Jones.

Weldon, who joined the city in January 2011, announced his resignation to Jones in a letter dated Aug. 10, but released by the city Monday morning.

His resignation is effective Aug. 24, but Weldon said he told Tome he would stay on a little longer to help tie up loose ends if she preferred.

Weldon said a city manager has to examine a mayor’s vision for the city and decide if he or she can whole-heartedly support it. If not, that person should resign, he said.

“Karin and I are just in two ideologically different places,” Weldon said.

He declined to elaborate on his reasons for leaving, but said he had laid them out to Tome.

Tome said Weldon was her first choice for the job in her administration, and she had been hoping he would stay on.

She said the city would advertise the position as soon as possible. She denied reports that she had spoken to former county Commissioner Kai Hagen about the position.

The position has a salary range of between $54,000 and $73,000.

The mayor’s office comes with a salary of $9,600 per year, while a council seat pays $3,600 per year.

Weldon said he was still trying to figure out what he would do next.

But the former state delegate and county commissioner said he would be very interested in running for county executive if voters approve a measure on the November ballot to move the county to a charter form of government.

That initiative would create a county executive and seven-member council to oversee the county, beginning in 2014.

Weldon served as a delegate from 2002 until he resigned in 2009, and worked as chief executive officer of the Frederick County United Way in 2008 and as executive assistant to Frederick Mayor Randy McClement (R) in 2009 and 2010.

In the Aug. 7 election, Councilman Walt Stull and Councilwoman Angel White were re-elected, while Ellis Burriss was elected to fill Tome’s council seat.

In a two-paragraph resignation letter addressed to Jones and Brunswick’s residents, Smith wrote: “As with any endeavor, there comes a time when one must move on and take another direction, that time for me is now.”

Smith served on the council for 22 years, and his term was set to expire in 2014.

The city charter requires that a special election be scheduled within 20 days of the resignation, and held within 120 days, Weldon said.

No candidate can file for the seat until a date has been set for the election, he said. Weldon said the election will probably be held in early December.

Smith congratulated Tome in his letter, and thanked Jones for his service to the city.

Tome said she was disappointed in Smith’s resignation. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on every issue, but Tome said she respected Smith’s expertise on building maintenance and other issues.

Smith also thanked the city’s voters for giving him the chance to serve them.

Jones praised Smith’s service to the city, particularly in the case of the budget and city finances, and said the announcement took him by surprise.

“I’m really sorry to see him go, but that’s his decision, and I’m going to respect his decision,” Jones said.