Packan would support tax rebates, police if elected to County Council

·3 min read

Jul. 5—Editor's note: The Frederick News-Post is profiling candidates for various public offices in Frederick County leading up to the July 19 primary elections.

Chaz Packan — a former legislative aide for state delegate and gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox — said he would propose rebates for all taxpayers and support the Frederick County Sheriff's Office if elected to the Frederick County Council.

In the last year, the council approved a 7% income tax rate reduction for taxpayers with a joint income below $100,000 or an individual income below $50,000, and a $175 tax return for people whose home or dual-use property was assessed at or below the county's median value.

Packan, a Republican, said the council should return money to all taxpayers in the county.

"The biggest complaint I hear from people in District 4, and around the county, is they want more money in their pocket to deal with the plight of inflation," Packan said.

Seven candidates are running for the council's District 4 seat, making it the most crowded field in the County Council race. District 4 encompasses much of the eastern part of the city of Frederick.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater has represented the district since 2014, but is not seeking reelection. She is one of three Democrats running for county executive. The others are Daryl Boffman and Kai Hagen.

Packan is one of three candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the November general election.

John Fer, a former teacher and Air Force pilot who, as a prisoner of war, shared a cell with former U.S. Sen. John McCain, and Steve Valentino, a truck driver for a lumber company, are also running.

The field for the Democratic nomination includes Nicholas Augustine, a Montgomery County police commander and Realtor; Kavonte Duckett, director of the Alan P. Linton, Jr. Emergency Shelter in Frederick; John Funderburk, an investment portfolio manager and owner of his namesake finance company; and Betty Law, a retired electric power engineer.

Packan is unemployed. He worked for Cox in 2019 and was a Frederick Keys team historian and writer from 2010 to 2016.

He lives in New Market, near Lake Linganore, where he said he's lived most of his life.

Packan ran for the Frederick County Board of Education in 2018, but lost in the primary election, tallying 3% of the vote.

As a council member, Packan said, he would be an advocate for Republican Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who is up for reelection in November, and would push to increase how much the county budgets for the Sheriff's Office.

He said he would also work with the county's delegation to the state legislature to secure a pay raise for the sheriff.

In April, the House of Delegates voted down a bill that would have increased the sheriff's pay from from $125,000 to $140,000 for the first two years of the next term before increasing to $150,000 for the next two years. The vote appeared to be a rebuke of Jenkins.

Packan said he would try to eliminate the county's Equity and Inclusion Office, which the council voted to establish in October to promote equity in planning, policy, recruitment and hiring, and general decision-making in county government. The county budgeted $356,000 for the office.

The county government has few people of color in leadership roles, which means there are few people of color in decision-making positions and holding jobs that receive high salaries, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Michael Hughes said at a meeting in November. The county has had trouble retaining people of color, too, he said.

Packan, however, said the office was created for the wrong reasons.

"[The county seems] to be pushing some left-wing social engineering stuff," Packan said. "Don't get me wrong. I'm all for everybody having a fair shake. But there seems to be a political bias to some of these committees and commissions."

Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan