Brunswick City Administrator Rick Weldon has resigned, making him the second city official to do so in the wake of last week’s mayoral and city council election.
Weldon said Monday he has diverging views on a variety of issues, including the role of government, with Mayor-elect Karin Tome.
He said he did not want to potentially make Tome’s job more difficult by going into detail. Tome takes office today.
“Karin deserves to start off her administration without having to constantly argue with her senior staff appointee over matters she sees as essential to her agenda,” Weldon wrote in an email. “The leadership dysfunction would have been apparent, inside and outside City Hall. She deserves better than that.”
“I love the place, love the people,” Weldon said of Brunswick. That love, in part, led him to step down and let Tome have a fair opportunity for success, he said.
Weldon officially resigned Friday. He said he planned to put in his last day Aug. 24, though he told Tome he would be willing to stay on longer, albeit not indefinitely, while a replacement is found.
The decision has disappointed some residents and city officials, including Tome.
She said she had a sense Weldon might resign after speaking with him several weeks ago about the issue. During her door-to-door campaigning, many residents asked her if Weldon planned to stay on, she said.
“I told Rick several weeks ago he would be my first choice,” she said.
Tome said Weldon was a good mediator and will be missed.
“Many people in Brunswick love him and appreciate his leadership,” she said.
Rumors spread online and elsewhere that Tome was seeking former Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen to fill the slot, but they are false, she said.
No definite plans for a replacement have been made, she said.
Tome said there will likely be a few local candidates for the job, and she believes the city should also open up the search outside of Brunswick.
Weldon has been the city administrator since January 2011, his second time in the position, he said. He also worked as the Brunswick city administrator from 1994 to 1999.
Before his most recent stint in Brunswick, Weldon spent a year as Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement’s executive assistant. He represented portions of Frederick and Washington counties in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2003 to 2009, when he left a year early in his last term to work for McClement. From 2001 to 2003, Weldon served as Frederick County commissioner. Apart from his legislative duties, he worked as the executive director of the United Way of Frederick from 2008 to 2009.
Although he did not specify, Weldon said plans for his future could include a role outside politics. He said he would also be interested in becoming a county executive, though he didn’t believe a county executive form of government would be approved by Frederick County voters in November. Councilwoman Angel White, who was re-elected to a four-year term last week, said she believed Weldon had the best interest of the city at heart.
White said Weldon was a good person with a strong work ethic. She said she understood that some residents will be disappointed.
“I don’t fault him one bit for doing that,” she said. “Turnover is always going to be a possibility.”
Last Wednesday, city Councilman Tom Smith also stepped down, two years early from his position to spend more time with his family, he said. He also said Tome’s election played a role in his decision. “Brunswick is in for a change,” White said. “Things are happening.”
Carroll Jones, who was packing his belongings Monday during his last day in office as Brunswick’s mayor, said Weldon brought a lot of knowledge, as well as a long list of contacts, to his position.
“I know he’s done a great job while he’s been here,” Jones said. “I’m not going to second guess his decision.”
Melanie DiPasquale, owner of Beans in the Belfry, said Weldon’s decision came as a surprise. She said she’s always had an excellent working relationship with Weldon.
“I think Brunswick’s going to be hard-pressed to find someone better to do that job,” she said. Mairam Tyeryar, owner of Mommer’s Diner, said she hated to see Weldon go. Weldon has been a regular customer at the restaurant, which is located within a block of City Hall, she said.
“It seems he has to do what he has to do,” she said.