Frederick’s new lobbyist in Annapolis will leave vacancy on school board

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Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D) flanked by the county’s outgoing lobbyist, Roger Wilson, and its incoming lobbyist, Joy Schaefer, who is currently a member of the county school board. (Courtesy Frederick County)

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Frederick County will have a new chief lobbyist in Annapolis next General Assembly session – and it’s shaking up multiple levels of government.

Roger Wilson, who has been the county’s director of government affairs and public policy for the last five years, will step down in January. County Executive Jan Gardner (D) announced on Wednesday that he will be replaced by Joy Schaefer, who is currently vice president of the Frederick County Board of Education.

Schaefer intends to resign from the school board and has announced that she does not intend to seek reelection.

She is also a member of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education and plans to remain on that panel until final recommendations are made. Schaefer’s start date with county government is anticipated in mid-December, but will not be before the commission’s work ends, Gardner said at an afternoon press briefing in Winchester Hall, the county office building.

“Of course, education is going to be the dominant discussion of this upcoming state legislative session, so Joy will bring a lot of knowledge and expertise to our team as we work to advance educational priorities for Frederick County and our state,” Gardner said.

Schaefer is also a past president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education and has established relationships in Annapolis that will help her hit the ground running, Gardner said.

Wilson was the county’s first director of government affairs and public policy after the county’s switch to charter government in 2014. He said Wednesday that he plans to pursue other opportunities but did not elaborate.

Schaefer said Wilson leaves big shoes to fill, but she looks forward to “building on his strong relationships and working for the people of Frederick County.”

Under the Frederick County charter, the county’s executive replaces members of the school board – with confirmation of the county council – in the event of a vacancy.

Gardner said since she was involved with creating the vacancy by hiring Schaefer, she will change the process to the extent allowed by the charter. She has asked the county council to put forward a list of nominees for the school board position by Jan. 1. Gardner would select a nominee from the list and submit that name back to the council for confirmation, she said.

The goal is to have a new school board member in place before the budget process is in full swing next year.

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