|OPINION: Katherine Heerbrandt tosses in her two cents worth in defense of Muth's motion.
Originally published February 20, 2009
Once things ran quietly and efficiently in the little town of Thurmont. Oh, there were various nuisances, conflicts, small scandals and the annual KKK parade, but town business rarely made the front page of The Frederick News-Post unless a president came to Camp David.
Thurmont's not-so-brilliant turn in the spotlight began in 2002 with a petition to recall Mayor Marty Burns, mostly as a result of his infamous short fuse.
"I think he got extra demonstrative and I don't know if he really thought out what he said," then-Commissioner Ed Hobbs said in 2002. "It's been the talk of the town, the mayor's conduct."
The mayor, blessed with a gift for charming gab, soothed the waters and was re-elected on a promise to change his ways.
This week another commissioner, who's worked with Burns for five years, made a motion for the mayor to resign. The motion passed 3-2, with Burns and Commissioner Wayne Hooper voting against it.
Yes, commissioners were indignant over the mayor's accusation at the Feb. 9 meeting that one of them sent names of delinquent utility accounts to The FNP. After challenging them to take a polygraph exam, he pointed his finger in the face of one commissioner and said he knew he was the culprit.
Burns later admitted he had no proof, but rather a gut feeling.
But the damage was done. After all, it's election year for mayor and two commissioners.
While that scene was sufficiently appalling, it was ultimately the one that took place minutes later, off camera, that gave three commissioners the guts to say what needed to be said a week later: The mayor's temper is out of control and he needs to step aside for the sake of the people he pledged to serve.
Commissioner Ron Terpko, once a close associate of Burns, posted an e-mail to the mayor, commissioners and the town attorney the day after hearing Burns challenge another commissioner to a fistfight, recounting in graphic detail the mayor's vile threats to Commissioner Bob Lookingbill. Commissioner Glen Muth saw Terpko step in front of the mayor with arms outstretched.
"I now believe we have a ticking time bomb on our hands and this needs immediate attention," Terpko wrote. "I am concerned now for safety and I am concerned about his explosive behavior. We have overlooked this in the past. ... He can not continue to do this."
At Monday's meeting, Commissioner Glen Muth made an appeal for the mayor's resignation. The sum of his words paint the mayor as a bully who's lashed out at commissioners and townspeople alike who disagree with him.
Muth was mum on the most d***ing example, showing infinitely more discretion for a man who doesn't deserve the consideration.
More and more we read of colorful politicians with larger-than-life egos putting their own ambitions above the good of their constituents.
When impeachment talks began for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, one state senator there said it was time for the adults to step in to "stop the freak show."
Thurmont under the direction of Marty Burns has indeed been a freak show and now the sequel's playing.
This Monday, the adults stepped in.
(Join me tomorrow from 9 to 11 on Frederick's Forum 930 WFMD for guests Mayor Jeff Holtzinger on city issues and Caroline Eader on WTE.)
February 20, 2009 @ 06:08 AM: kirbydelauter
Katherine - Wrong Again. If you speak to the majority of Thurmont citizens, they're behind Marty on this one. If you lick a dog long enough, eventually he's going to bite, Commissioner Lookingbill has been quietly kicking the Mayor for quite some time, as usual when the dog bites, you want to blame the dog. Lookingbill wants to make "snarky" (you love that word ) comments and antagonize the Mayor in public where he knows it safe. If he had some onions, he'd have taken the challenge and settled the matter. Say what you want about Marty Burns, he is honest and all in all, done a pretty good job as Mayor. If we could get rid of the undertoe, and get some people in there that support the Town and not their own personal agenda's, we'd all be better off.
February 20, 2009 @ 06:09 AM: kirbydelauter
kick a dog
February 20, 2009 @ 06:19 AM: abcdcomments
Sounds like none of them have clean hands. Too bad they aren't all up for re-election. Marty lost my respect when he screamed at the PTA ladies. If you can't hold a civil discussion with the PTA, you don't have the maturity to handle the real conflicts.
February 20, 2009 @ 06:53 AM: andglorybe
Love it Katherine. Oh, and Kirby Delauter? Thank you for speaking for the entire community, but YOU are the one that's dead wrong about this. I was unaware that you went around and asked every citizen of Thurmont his or her opinion on this. Kudos to you!
February 20, 2009 @ 06:57 AM: tatt2ed_objectivist
Katherine... this seems to be a real problem for you. Come on down during the next election and cast a ballot against our good mayor... oh, wait, you can't.
February 20, 2009 @ 06:59 AM: crisisofethics
"If he had some onions, he'd have taken the challenge and settled the matter. "-Now there's a good way to do business. I suggest we just adopt that mode for everything. For instance, the stimulus package, just make it into a big bar fight, why not? You don't have "onions"? Whomever is left standing at the end is the one who gets to decide where to spend the money. I think it's a great way to settle things. We should all regress to second grade in our actions, that would be just wonderful. Let's do it, to hell with the idea of rational thinking!
February 20, 2009 @ 07:50 AM: rwaesche
I'm usually with you Katherine, but this time you're wrong. First, the voters of Thurmont have elected Burns 3 times - first as a commissioner and twice as mayor. He was a 'known commodity' every time. Unless he's criminally unfit (that's where your Illinois analogy is faulty) the voters are the only ones free to elect him or deny him reelection. That’s why as a Thurmont voter, I don't appreciate 3 people telling me my voice doesn't count and that they decide who the mayor should be. Second, me and a whole bunch of other citizens (maybe not ALL, but a bunch) are finally getting vocal because the increasingly obvious 'coalition of 3' seem to be heading in a direction not consistent with, what did you say? “putting their own ambitions above the good of their constituents”. The most stunning example was last week’s 3 vote (guess who) rejection of the PZ chair in order to exact political revenge on the mayor. So, I’m back to the beginning – and while I haven’t always voted for either of them, the real heroes in this latest ‘freak show’ not of their doing are the only two who, in my opinion, have put the Town first – Burns and Hooper. That’s why I hope both run and win reelection this fall.
February 20, 2009 @ 08:10 AM: ameee11
It has always been clear that Katherine has had it out for mayor Burns which is why this editorial comes as no surprise to me. Yet again Katherine only reports what she wants and leaves us with a one sided story and does not give us all the facts. Katherine is way wrong on this one and hopefully the citizens will start to see through these commissioners. Mayor Burns and Commissioner Hooper do a great job for the town of Thurmont (which is DEF not the case for the other 3). Katherine just likes to stir the pot. In time I hope the Thurmont citizens see what is really going on and that these commissioners do not have the towns best interest at heart, they have their OWN!!
February 20, 2009 @ 08:17 AM: ameee11
One other quick question: How did Katherine get a private email that was between the mayor, commissioners, and town attorney????
February 20, 2009 @ 10:16 AM: ihulk6307
I don't know if this writer has it out for Burns, but if what she writes is true (about challenging somebody to a fight to settle things), how can anybody be behind him? He's the MAYOR! You can't have a mayor acting like a knucklehead in public!
February 20, 2009 @ 10:28 AM: crisisofethics
"You can't have a mayor acting like a knucklehead in public! "-I don't know, Kirby D seems to think it's a great idea.
February 20, 2009 @ 10:28 AM: catoctinmommy
I am a citizen of Thurmont, have been for many years. I dont agree with everything Major Burns but I do agree with Kirby. You know what makes everyone else perfect in this situation. You really shouldnt speak unless you know what you are speaking about. Major Burns I havent always liked you butI dont like the fact that the we have 2 men who thing they are perfect but in all reality they are nothing but backstabbing liars.
February 20, 2009 @ 10:28 AM: mneufeld
Ugh. Some of us only know about a dozen people well in Thurmont---and every single one of them in the past three weeks has expressed nothing but support, praise, kudos, positive words and encouragement---for Marty Burns. And others in Frederick who know what's going on up north say the same thing: The problem is NOT with Marty Burns. So what on earth prompted this column? It's clearly the commissioners who are causing the problems in the still small-town of Thurmont: They ousted a very popular, well-liked and well-respected Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman recently. Why? It's not clear. Again, if you talk to a select group of people in Thurmont, they all support the recent Chairman--and they're baffled as to why he was ousted. The same response is occurring with the commissioners regarding Marty Burns--it doesn't make any sense why they're targeting the mayor. Also, Burns' anger was on-target: Why on earth would a commissioner of a small town in northern Frederick County send a list of people delinquent on electric bills--of all things--to a community newspaper? Who cares? And that is not the action of a commissioner. If anything, anger should be directed at the commissioners regarding the sending of peoples' bills, regarding the firing of a popular Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman, regarding their actions toward the mayor, and regarding their actions in general in the perspective of the management of a small town in northern Frederick County. Their actions are not productive for the community of Thurmont.
February 20, 2009 @ 11:00 AM: ewilcox685
I think it's disgusting that people are defending the Mayor and his actions. Those of you defending his actions, the way he addresses YOU THE CITIZENS OF THURMONT, and the way that he treats the commissioners (AKA OTHER HUMAN BEINGS) is disgusting. How can anyone think the way that Marty Burns presents himself is acceptable behavior? He has this "I'm smarter than you" attitude that people are defending and that will drive Thurmont into the dirt. The town is THURMONT. Not MartyLand. How can anyone (kirbydelauter) think the way to solve anything is by accepting a physical challenge? This is 2009. Duels are long since over with. Get with the times people. Sheesh. I voted for Terpko, Lookingbill and Muth and the three of them continue to prove to me that they are the only three that deserve to be on that board. They are not in this for their own personal gain. What do they get out of putting up with Burns CONTINUOUS antics? A bunch of headaches and that's all. I believe that they are doing what they feel is best and I trust those three more than I trust Burns. Hooper needs to go too. He just sits there and agrees with Burns on everything. As for John Kinnaird? Get over it. He wasn't a hired employee. He was a volunteer. No one ever said he did a poor job. They just felt it was time for a change. All of you need to grow up. I'm disgusted.
February 20, 2009 @ 11:12 AM: bowman1025
all I can say is,Ive lived in Thurmont for 56 years and never seen such antics and poor social skills that I see in this mayors reign.It is sad that our town will be a laughing stock for everyone if this isn't brought under control.I really don't care what other people will think of what I have to say,but,you can not tolerate such actions and anger the way this Mayor has acted.He needs to be more approchable and not hot headed,it just doesn't work.
February 20, 2009 @ 11:29 AM: JrHarb2179
Did anyone else witness this confrontation other then the board itself? Personally I believe it is a political move due to one of them wants to be mayor.
February 20, 2009 @ 11:31 AM: mblank1163
Wow does this sound familiar....let's send Jennifer to Thurmont maybe she can offer advice or counseling.
February 20, 2009 @ 11:34 AM: ameee11
My thoughts exactly JrHarb2179.
February 20, 2009 @ 12:13 PM: JrHarb2179
Mr. Terpko has no room to talk about berating people. He's done it numerous times at town meetings with people that don't agree with him. As the old saying goes: people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!
February 20, 2009 @ 12:17 PM: kirbydelauter
GloryB and Crisis - If you actually read what I wrote, I didn't say I was speaking for everyone in the Town. I didn't say the BoC should get into a fist fight or bar room brawl, or that is acceptable for the Mayor to be a knucklehead. My point is this, if you're going to taunt someone, be prepared to back it up when they finally confront you. I've disagreed with Marty on many issues, but with John Kinnaird, and confronting the antagonizer, Marty is correct.
February 20, 2009 @ 12:34 PM: andglorybe
Okay. Seriously kirbydelauter, say what you mean and mean what you say. You just totally backed down from your original comment. Katherine's OPINION piece states: "the day after hearing Burns challenge another commissioner to a fistfight, recounting in graphic detail the mayor's vile threats to Commissioner Bob Lookingbill." To which your first comment replies "If he had some onions, he'd have taken the challenge and settled the matter." Doesn't that say loud and clear that you were for accepting the challenge of a fist fight that the Mayor extended? Maybe you're the one that should read, kind sir.
February 20, 2009 @ 02:10 PM: thelat1969
Freak show Katherine? How appropriate! Have you looked in the mirror? It's apparent you have a particular interest in Mayor Burns given that you have now made him the subject of your hate and venom at least twice now. Curious as to why keep spending time on him. Muth, Twerpko and Lookingbill need to resign . Twerpko should worry more about the examples he has set for his children and get his nipple piercings removed first before criticizing others. What a disgrace he is for the community. Muth is just a sheep who follows the flock and Lookingbill's motives are as clear as day. The Town's people have already seen through him and thankfully in time before October's election.
February 20, 2009 @ 02:20 PM: catoctinmommy
I think they should all go and get fresh faces for this town. I like Major Burns...but honestly lets get people in their for the people not for themselves. Thurmont needs to move on from this mess. As for the so called writer of this article....I guess writing the truth and helping the town would not sell as many papers or how about maybe you would lose your spot at the FNP you are just plain ignorant.
February 20, 2009 @ 02:37 PM: crisisofethics
“If you actually read what I wrote”-I did, you said “If he had some onions, he'd have taken the challenge and settled the matter.” Obviously, “settling” things by having a fistfight is a completely acceptable thing to you. I don’t share that opinion. I find it ridiculous, juvenile, and lacking any justification. I’m really no fan of Heerbrandt, I find her belief system to be lacking in reason. It is unfortunately typical of emotionally based liberals who think things through about 20% of the way and stop there. However, in this case, with her comment about adults I do agree with her. A Mayor challenging another person to a fistfight lacks the adult emotional capacity which is requisite to the job of “Mayor” to most people. Espousing this as a means to “settle” things is as bad.
February 20, 2009 @ 02:42 PM: kirbydelauter
GloryB - you are correct. What I meant to say was that some people just need a good a$$ whoopin sometimes. Thanks for calling me out on that. What was I thinking?
February 20, 2009 @ 03:00 PM: crisisofethics
"What I meant to say was that some people just need a good a$$ whoopin sometimes. Thanks for calling me out on that. What was I thinking?"-I don't know, it's your story. Do you honestly believe that beating people you disagree with is a good course of action?
February 20, 2009 @ 03:31 PM: kirbydelauter
Only when they disagree with me.....on Tuesdays.
February 20, 2009 @ 04:56 PM: winstonsmithy
I'd love to see some good fisticuffs in a legislative body here. Something to spice up the dull crap that usually occurs. Why should the Taiwanese have all the fun?
February 20, 2009 @ 05:15 PM: JrHarb2179
As being a resident of Thurmont for 12 years, In my opinion and registered voter, Terpko, Muth, and Lookingbill remind me of the clueless, the useless, and the helpless. In other words, Larry, Moe, and Curly. You decide who is who!
February 20, 2009 @ 09:32 PM: keljr08
Ms. Heerbrandt's column is dead on. She writes this way because she has obviuosly disagreed with Mayor Burns a time or two and has suffered the backlash that Muth, Terpko and Lookingbill are constantly getting everytime they speak their minds. Perhaps the Burns supporters enjoy narcissistic personalities. As Muth was referred to as a sheep that follows the flock, just how exactly would you describe Hooper? Perhaps, he is the flea on the dog that should be quarantined for biting?! I commend Commissioner Muth for having the courage (or onions, as some would say) to call the Mayor on his abhorrent behavior. I believe Muth, Terpko and Lookingbill echo the sentiment of the town's majority, not the Mayor and his cronies. As far as self interest, ulterior motives and personal gain, look towards the Mayor, Mr. Kinnaird and the rest of their gang when making such statements. Terpko, Muth and Lookingbill are acting in the best interest of the tax-paying citizens who elected them. If voting to not reappoint John Kinnaird, as the Mayor so desired, can cause this much discord between the Mayor and Comissioners, imagine if they disagreed with him on a really pressing issue. The Mayor is exactly right on one thing, this is democracy at it's best. And if you disagree or find you have a distaste for such democracy, then look up dictator in the dictionary and maybe you will change your mind.
February 21, 2009 @ 01:27 AM: doodlebops4
Hey Katherine...how about some equality? How about your opinions on our Commissioner Lookingbill calling suspects "monkeys" during live a televised meeting; it was more than obvious why he made this comment. What about Commisioner Terpko walking around spouting off and going on television about his neighbors and their electric bill? If I were Marty, I would have accused him of the same thing. Terpko publicly rants about people and how digusted he is about his neighbors....AND we are to believe that he did not send the list to FNP...PAAAALEASE! At least Marty's rants are out of passion for the town and its people. Lookingbill and Terpko are only passionate about becoming the next mayor and his top stooge.
February 23, 2009 @ 02:26 PM: mrl157
Katherine...I was there....you were not. Leave Thurmont alone....we do not need you mettling in our business... go find some other town to mess with...or better yet....why don't you come to the meetings so we can challenge you face to face???
Last edited on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 11:34 am by jakinnaird