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December 6, 2011

“Bud” Otis’ “Resignation”

Roy Meachum

Word on the Frederick “street” has U.S. Representative Roscoe Bartlett’s chief of staff fired. While technically resigned, Harold “Bud” Otis was given no choice.


The congressman confirmed that his employee approached his substantial financial contributors to back him, claiming the Democrats’ gerrymandering of the Sixth District made shaky Dr. Bartlett’s re-election prospects for his 11th term. Then he had the cheap audacity of assaulting Alex Mooney for proclaiming his candidacy; earlier the former state senator said he would never run against his former boss. Roscoe Bartlett filed in mid-summer.


In yesterday’s, columnists Rick Weldon more than suggested Mr. Mooney resign his job as director of the Maryland GOP. Of course, I agree. He was a Katzenjammer Kid, together with ex-delegate Joseph Bartlett, which was seen as ambitions to succeed Joe’s father. In this highly Republican part of the state, Mr. Mooney was defeated by Democratic State Senator Ron Young. When it comes down to the matter of mere dollars, Alex owns the stream of out-of-the-state political dollars, which makes him a formidable opponent.


On October 7, about two months ago, I wrote:


“The incumbent congressman promised the initial round to run a single additional time as “Frederick News-Post” Letters to the Editor remind him; that was nearly 20 years ago. The first few terms went swimmingly when Gregg Cox was in charge of his office, but the original chief of staff left for a high-ranked Civil Service post with the Defense Department.


“On Mr. Cox’s departure, Harold F. (Bud) Otis, Jr., took over. His strongest credential apparently was that he shared Mr. Bartlett’s Seventh-day membership. Before being summoned to Capitol Hill, he was president of the church’s Family Enrichment Resources, infamous within Seventh-day Adventist circles for producing and selling a (disastrous) videotape Biblical series. Coming off a controversial and troubled stewardship, Mr. Otis markedly restricted access to his boss.


“During my Washington years, I saw this frequently. In order to keep their jobs, Capitol Hill staffs shut off elected officials from most matters the employees choose to ignore. In every instance, the representative or senator was defeated at the polls, sooner or later.”


And sure enough, from my October 21 column, in his turn, the new chief of staff ‘protected’ the congressman by restricting access” to Roscoe Bartlett. “My attempts to warn (the U.S. representative) of his distancing from the electorate was waved off and I tried a couple of times.”


“Bud” Otis continued to chauffer his boss daily to their place of business until he was let go.


The last time I saw and spoke with state Sen. David Brinkley, he told me his single boy and only girl children, when asked, would prefer he not run for Washington. Still, The Frederick News-Post that reported he formed an exploratory committee, which is tantamount to announcing his bid. But not quite.


During the city’s last weekend Downtown First Saturday, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins offered a handshake; in a conversation that followed he said he would run again for the county’s top law enforcement officer. Bad news for City Police Captain Kevin Grubbs and his coterie.


Today, in an adjoining column, former Delegate and ex-County Commissioner Weldon assesses Democratic hopes for the newly drawn Sixth Congressional District. Of course, I’m reading Rick’s thoughts with a great deal of interest.



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