Blaine Young’s detractors blame tea party politics for his platform of smaller government and subsequent firing of 175 county employees.
But the president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners said the board’s hiring record helps “dispels the stigma attached to an all white, all male, all Republican board.”
Compared to the last commission headed by Democrat Jan Gardner, Young’s board has hired more women overall, hired more women as administrators and promoted as many women as the Gardner board in the first 19 months of their respective administrations, according to figures obtained by The Gazette from the Frederick County Human Resources Department.
Young’s board has also hired 50 people who classify themselves as minorities and has promoted 20 minorities and women, the figures show.
The five-member board votes to appoint top positions within county government.
Information on hiring and promoting minorities during the Gardner administration was not available from human resources. That board, which served between 2006 and 2010, consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats.
Tracy Lobuts, assistant director of human resources, said applicants are not required by federal law to provide their gender or ethnicity.
The information is only available now because applicants have provided it more readily in an online hiring system implemented in January 2010 than they did when completing the optional hard copy form used during the Gardner administration, Lobuts said in an email.
“This board has gotten certain stigmas,” Young said. “They [detractors] try to paint us with a broad brush, as right-wing Republican men, or tea party nuts. Clearly, we hire the person who is right for the job.”
Although Young conceded that his board’s hiring record does not reflect a directed effort, he is “proud” of the diversity it represents.
Women head finance, workforce development, citizen services, and information technology departments at the county, among others, according to the county website.
Commissioner David P. Gray (R), who also served on the Gardner board, said as much as he differs with the current board on other issues, particularly growth, he has “not detected any anti-women or anti-minority attitudes” on the part of the Young board.
“But, if they were pushed to hire quotas, there would be resistance,” he said.
Despite the numbers, a vocal opponent of the Young board is not impressed.
Valerie Dale, who established Stand Up Frederick to protest the board’s policies on layoffs, schools and nonprofit funding, growth and development and other issues, said there’s a different way to approach the subject.
“How many women and minorities have lost their jobs because of his policies since the inception of his taking the helm? How many of those also lost their benefits, including health insurance?” Dale asked in an email.
Gardner, who served as board president from 2006 to 2010 and now works for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), was unavailable for comment before The Gazette’s press time.