Frederick Alderwoman Kuzemchak calls on Wilson to step down

·3 min read

May 11—Frederick Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak is calling on colleague Roger Wilson to resign after the release of a report looking into claims of inappropriate behavior by Wilson. The inquiry's findings have already led to Wilson being removed as liaison to a city youth council.

The report, overseen by a Baltimore lawyer and released to the public last week, found that Wilson's conduct did not constitute legal sexual harassment under state or federal law. But the attorney, Karen Kruger, found that "there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Alderman Wilson relied on his position as an Alderman to gain the acquaintance and trust of women in the community.

"He then used a pretense of helping these women as an opportunity to request that they engage in sexual relationships with him," the report stated.

In previous comments to the News-Post, Wilson characterized the report's findings as "flirting."

But Kuzemchak thinks Wilson should step down from his alderman's post.

"Just because Mr. Wilson can't be charged because there was no 'employment relationship' doesn't mean he didn't cross ethical boundaries," Kuzemchak wrote in a statement. "He did, and as a female legislator, I find this repugnant."

The aldermen are in the process of reviewing the city's policies on harassment and inappropriate conduct by elected officials. Elected officials aren't covered by the existing rules.

Kuzemchak said she would continue to seek changes to the city's ethics ordinance.

"But right now, I need to be clear that I believe Alderman Wilson's continued presence on the Board of Aldermen hurts all residents of the City of Frederick," she said.

Wilson did not respond to a request for comment on this story Monday.

Kuzemchak said Monday that while she thinks Wilson should step down as an alderman, she doesn't care whether he continues his campaign for the Democratic nomination for mayor in September's primary.

People have the information they need to make their own decision on Wilson's political future, she said.

Following the report's release, Alderman Kelly Russell cited the findings in a letter Wednesday proposing that Wilson be removed as the board's liaison to the Youth Advisory Council.

She also called for a change in the process for appointing liaisons to the council, while also changing the process for removal to allow either the mayor or aldermen to do so. A removal by the board would require a majority vote of the members present.

The council was created to "advise City officials and staff on policies, programs, and issues relating to youth in the community." The group works to "ensure that youth are an integral part of the City's decision-making processes," according to the city's website.

In a proposed change to the city code revising the appointment process for the council, Russell wrote, "The liaison works closely with young adults in a mentoring position and as such, must be held to the highest standards and ethics. The Board of Aldermen must be provided the opportunity to determine which of its members is the most suitable representative on this board in particular because of the mentoring relationships with children and young adults."

In a letter to Wilson dated Friday, Mayor Michael O'Connor wrote that at the request of the other four aldermen "and with my concurrence, I am removing you from your position as Aldermanic liaison to the Youth Advisory Council effective immediately."

Wilson led the effort to create a Youth Advisory Council in response to feedback from constituents during both his 2017 campaign for alderman and an unsuccessful 2013 campaign for state delegate about a lack of recreational, entertainment and job opportunities for young people.

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