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A Letter to City Hall

September 21, 2005

by Diana Hallerman

With the forthcoming departures from City Hall of Mayor Jennifer Dougherty (at the end of her term) and Chief Operating Officer Vinny Hughes (Nov. 30th), I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to thank them both for their vision and their initiative.  As a result of their imaginative implementation of Frederick 101 classes, I became active as a community volunteer – something I had not considered in all the time I resided in Frederick.  Their efforts helped me to find my voice and to find the joy in public service and volunteerism.

It was as a result of Frederick 101 classes that I learned about the Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NACs) and eventually became an active member of NAC 5.  At the same time, I learned about the Community Alternative Mediation Center (CALM) and took the opportunity to become a trained mediator and facilitator.  Today, I happily serve on the board of directors for CALM.  My husband and I have volunteered for service in many areas of the community including the 4th of July in Baker Park, In the Streets, the city’s Hurricane Relief Efforts, and others.  Earlier this year, I applied for and was appointed to the City’s Personnel Commission.   All of this is a direct result of the vision of these two people, Vinny Hughes and Jennifer Dougherty.

This column then is a “thank you” letter for the effort they put into giving a voice back to the citizens of this city – for restoring open government – for helping citizens find a way to give back to a city that has given them so much.  This was an enormous gift to me and to all those folks who attended classes such Frederick 101, the Citizens Police Academy, Leadership training and who joined the Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NACs) and became active members of their community.  We can never go back to that quiet, sedentary role again.

Horizons have been expanded, thoughts have been given wings and new friendships formed, new bonds established and the citizenry and city have been the beneficiaries of it.  I put my hands together and applaud your initiative in giving power back to the people and in opening government to those voices who wish to be heard.

It is my deepest wish that you will continue, in your own ways, to contribute to Frederick in the future.  Thank you for the gifts you left with us and for the time and effort you put into sharing your vision.