Rockville Narrows Field for Vacant Council Seat

Rockville Narrows Field for Vacant Council Seat

Five finalists picked from 22 applicants; more interviews Tuesday

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Five finalists have been sifted from 22 applicants for a seat on the Rockville City Council.

The council met with 21 candidates Saturday and has set a second round of interviews Tuesday night as it moves to fill the first vacancy on the elected board in 35 years.

Two-term Councilwoman Julie Palakovich Carr stepped down in January, 10 months before her term expires, after she was elected as a state delegate representing District 17, which includes parts of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

All of the finalists have roots in a range of civic and education programs, as professionals and volunteers, and have spelled out their priorities for the city in statements prepared for the council.

Only one of the five finalists said he didn’t plan to run for a full, four-year term in the city’s November election.

Robert J. Wright, a former three-term councilman, said his decision not to run for the seat “is fair as the (selection) of an applicant to the council now, who would stand for election in November 2019, gives him/her an advantage over others who plan to run for office.”

The four other finalists selected Saturday are Monique Ashton, Cynthia Cotte Griffiths, James J. Hedrick and Eugene M. Thirolf.

Ashton is a senior vice president at the global public relations and marketing company Ogilvy, specializing in public health and science areas. She has been involved with county public school advocacy issues, including serving on the board of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs and on the city’s adequate public facilities study group.

Griffiths is executive director of DC-MD Justice For Our Neighbors, a nonprofit offering legal services to immigrants. She serves on the city’s traffic and transportation commission, spent six years on the city human services advisory board and has been on the PTSA of Richard Montgomery High School.

Hedrick, a housing policy specialist, works at the Federal Housing Finance Agency and is on the executive committee of the Twinbrook Community Association and the board of Rockville Housing Enterprises, the city’s public housing agency. He was a presidential management fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Thirolf, an attorney, ran the Department of Justice Office of Consumer Litigation. He served on the county’s liquor control board and Rockville Ethics Commission, and has volunteered with parent-teacher organizations at Rockville schools and youth-league sports.

Wright, who retired from the Department of Energy as a senior adviser, has volunteered with school, youth scouting and recreation projects. In addition to his years on the council, he is the chairman of the Rockville Financial Advisory Board and serves on the Maryland Air Quality Control Advisory Council.

Council members are paid $26,376 a year and the position is considered part time.

Biographies and position statements of all candidates are available on the Rockville government website.

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