Boyer Loses Mayoral,commissioner Bids, Promises To Return

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December 30, 1990|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

Few local politicians encountered more turbulence in 1990 than former Mount Airy Mayor Linda R. Boyer.

A two-term incumbent, Boyer lost her mayoral seat in the May election, falling to political newcomer Gerald R. Johnson Jr. by a 465-312 vote.

The ongoing criticism of Boyer's administration by the Mount Airy Citizens' Coalition, a self-professed watchdog of town government, seemed responsible for part of the loss.

But being voted out of office wasn't the first difficulty to cross Boyer's path during 1990.

In December 1989, Boyer lost a slander suit brought against her by James Frey, president of Frall Developers Inc., a builder based in Mount Airy.

The suit claimed Boyer had defamed and slandered Frey twice while she was mayor.

A jury in Frederick County Circuit Court awarded Frall $750,000 in actual damages and $25,000 in punitive damages.

In July, however, while a Boyer appeal was pending, Frall announced that an out-of-court settlement between the developer and the former mayor had been reached.

Frey agreed to accept $80,000, which he said at the time would be enough only to pay for basic legal fees and expenses incurred during the course of the lawsuit.

Boyer maintained she had never slandered the developer, and emphasized that the out-of-court settlement contained no admission of guilt on her part.

After her defeat in the mayoral race, Boyer returned to politics later in 1990, mounting a campaign for a seat on the Frederick County Board of Commissioners.

She survived the September primary, garnering about 2,800 votes and finishing third among 10 Republicans vying for five spots on the general election ballot.

But in November, Boyer came up short, finishing seventh in a field of 10 candidates competing for five openings on the Frederick County board.

Despite the Frederick loss, and a stormy 1990, Boyer said she remained optimistic and undeterred.

Boyer said she was buoyed by her success in the primary election and hinted that she would keep an eye open for other political possibilities.

"I'm not going anywhere," she said. "I would not discount seeking out some other office."

Also in Mount Airy politics in 1990, former Mayor Lewis C. Dixon undertook a third attempt to recapture the office of mayor.

However, just a few days before the May 7 election, Dixon announced his withdrawal from the race and said he was putting his support behind Johnson.

Boyer criticized the move as a "sham," saying it was orchestrated all along and aimed at disrupting the campaign and enhancing Johnson's chances.

Dixon, whose name appeared on the ballot despite his withdrawal from the race, received three votes for mayor in the May election.

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