|Will developers have reason|
to celebrate the closed process
to fill this Council vacancy?
The five finalists are (click on name to read their application):
Monique Ashton - a PTA cluster coordinator for the Richard Montgomery cluster in Montgomery County Public Schools, and a senior vice-president at Ogilvy.
Cynthia Cotte Griffiths - Richard Montgomery High School's Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) President and editor of the former Rockville Central blog and Facebook page. With an extensive professional background in non-profits, she is currently Executive Director of
DC-MD Justice For Our Neighbors in Rockville.
James J. Hedrick - Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) employee who currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Twinbrook Community Association (TCA), and on the board of Rockville Housing Enterprises.
Eugene M. Thirolf - retired Director of the Office of Consumer Litigation (OCL) in the Department of
Justice, with 20 years volunteer experience in the Richard Montgomery cluster that included being president of the PTSA at three schools in the cluster. He also was head of the Montgomery County Liquor Board, and a five year commissioner for the Rockville Ethics Commission, in addition to being a volunteer in youth sports.
Robert J. Wright - a former Senior Advisor with the U.S. Department of Energy, Wright served on the Rockville City Council for three terms beginning in 1995. He was defeated by Larry Giammo in the 2001 Rockville mayoral race, after some memorable rhetorical showdowns during the old Citizens' Forum segment of Mayor and Council meetings. A majority of residents sought a more responsible and lower-density development policy that year, among other concerns. Wright is promising not to run again in November if he is chosen to fill the vacancy now.
One thing clear so far in this process: the city needs a special election to fill vacancies like this, so that residents have a chance to fully interrogate the candidates in debates and forums on the critical issues like growth, development, and adequate public facilities. A second thing we know for sure is that this will be a somewhat-dramatic selection, as the Mayor and Council are split into two factions of two apiece. Someone will have to flip sides to anoint the winner here. Finally, residents will probably find time spent on recruiting and supporting five responsible-growth candidates for the real election this fall more effective than time spent worrying about who serves out the remaining months of this term.
Residents can ostensibly start weighing in on the finalists during the Community Forum at tonight's Mayor and Council meeting at 7:00 PM at City Hall. That meeting will follow a closed session, as the City is apparently facing a lawsuit that the Mayor and Council will discuss privately.