Dirty secrets in Westminster?

April 03, 1992

Dirty little secrets are rarely found in the squeaky clean politics of Westminster, but one may be oozing there now.

Six weeks ago, the city's director of public works, William S. Mowell; an assistant director, Jonathan Frenzel, and Planning Supervisor Kevin Bode resigned -- all with no explanation given. The city attorney was called in to negotiate in the matter. Last week, the city council preliminarily approved merging those two departments, public works and planning, to improve efficiency and communications. The recent resignations were mentioned, but little was explained about whether they precipitated the pending change.

Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, generally an advocate of open government, says he can't elaborate on the resignations, because they're personnel matters. Nor will he confirm whether any of the men continue to be paid. But weeks after the fact, something smells about the murky mass resignations.

One source said there was a transmission over a public works radio, prior to the resignations, in which someone asked if anyone knew where he could obtain a sawed-off shotgun. The source also said police were called into the matter, although the mayor has said that the resignations were not spurred by a criminal investigation.

Scandal has been an infrequent visitor to the chambers of the Carroll County seat. But in his refusal to explain the resignations, any continuing costs to the city, and how the episode relates to his rapid reorganization, the mayor is laying a welcome mat for suspicion.

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