Frederick City Official Changes Title in Major Move

- FREDERICK, Md. - It's the difference of two letters, but for Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, those two letters make all the difference.

“I am an alderwoman. Not a man. It's that simple,” said Kuzemchak.

Over the years, there have been debates over what to call the city's legislative body, in an effort to be more inclusive. Before Kuzemchak's request and approval to change her name plate to "Alderwoman," female members of the board had to use the official title, "Alderman", which is written in the city's charter.

Kuzemchak’s first attempt to officially change her title to something she said was more gender-appropriate came in the late 1990's, a move that was later denied. According to Frederick city minutes from 2005, an attempt to amend the city's charter to city council was made but denied 4 to 1. 

“Frederick is a historic city, I don't want to fight that but I also want people to understand that there is a difference between the makeup of what we have now governing this city and what we had 100 years ago,” said Kuzemchak.

The change was not for everyone. Alderman Kelly Russell who also serves on the board said she is comfortable with the title "Alderman". In a statement, Russell wrote that she respects Kuzemchak’s choice but does not share the same desire.

“The official title in our charter is 'Alderman'. It is a distinguished title that I am honored to hold. I view it no differently than any other title I have held; Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant [all] with the Frederick Police Department," said Russell.

But for Kuzemchak, this win has been a long time coming.

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