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Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 05/18/2010

Ex-Gaithersburg official found dead

By Washington Post editors

Former Gaithersburg Assistant City Manager Fred Felton has died, The Gazette reports. He was 46 years old.

A family member found Felton's body in his car Monday, parked in the driveway of his mother's home on Central Avenue in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, according to Montgomery County police.

Police were called to the house at 4:44 p.m., spokeswoman Officer Melanie Brenner said. Felton's body was in the passenger seat of his car.

Felton appeared to have died of natural causes, according to a report by Detective Patrick McNerney, the investigating detective for the homicide division, Brenner said.

"[Felton] may have been there more than a day," she said.

No foul play is suspected, Brenner said. The body has been sent to the medical examiner's office in Baltimore for a complete autopsy.

Felton was a city employee for 20 years and served as an assistant city manager from July 1, 1999, until his retirement on Oct. 7, 2009.

During his tumultuous 23 months on the job, he was called to question for asking police to intervene in a DUI arrest of a state delegate; hacked into his boss' computer; and was charged in September with reckless endangerment for discharging a gun in his apartment.

By Washington Post editors  | May 18, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
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I am sad and a bit angry that this article focused only on some negative items with Mr. Felton's recent past. There is no mention of all the great things Fred did for the city and for citizens during his time with the City of Gaithersburg. I have never met a more loyal, dedicated and engaged and energetic public servant. We all have our "issues", but for the Post to focus only on the negative and not all of positive items is irresponsible, disingenuous and disrespectful to the life and memory of someone who was basically a decent, caring and kind man. Fred Felton was always someone, the citizens of Gaithersburg could count on. I hope I am not solely defined by my issues, as he should NOT be solely defined by his. The countless positive things Fred did for the city far and away exceed the negative. I hope as the days go by, The Post takes the opportunity to speak with those of us who knew him and writes an article that is worthy of his record of service to Gaithersburg. Rest in Peace, Fred. I will miss you...Danny W.

Posted by: May_Twin_Boy | May 18, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I echo your sentiments Danny. I had the privilege to work with Fred at the City of Gaithersburg for several years and knew him as a dear friend of my family. He was a selfless servant for the community and he earnestly sought to make Gaithersburg a better place. His passing is nothing short of tragic. - Adam Rice

Posted by: radrice | May 18, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The average age for a normal male is in the range of 72-78 years. Given his connections, for him to die at 46 years old seems suspicious.

As they say, dead men tell no tales.

Posted by: Able_Dagger | May 18, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: DaisyTalina | May 19, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

I too am disgusted that the Post chooses to focus on the negative. Fred Felton was a UNIQUE individual whose LOVE for the City of Gaithersburg was unparalleled. He was ALWAYS the go to guy for all the answers for ANYTHING to do with city policy or history. He did this for EVERYONE. He'd give you the shirt off his back and go the extra mile ALL THE TIME. There is no one else like him in the city. He has and will be missed forever. I had been praying that Fred would not listen to the bad dog but the bad dog won.

Posted by: clarkwdayphoto | May 19, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The Post used to occasionally send a reporter out to the suburbs to write a story, which often got much wrong because the reported had no background on the topic. Now they copy material from another source (The Gazette) mix it up until it makes no sense ("Felton was a city employee for 20 years...During his tumultuous 23 months on the job) and print it as news. Since you've given up reporting from outside DC, please stop pretending. Any real newspaper would have actually talked to people who knew Fred, or worked with him, and this article would be a completely different story. It is bad enough to slander people who are alive to defend themselves, please don't do that to those who have died an untimely death.

Posted by: CathyD3 | May 19, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The Gazette started to get it right today with the headline "Felton remembered for dedication to City", but instead of writing an article about that they shifted the focus of the story to Fred's problems with alcohol. It would be really nice for his family and friends, but especially his mother, if they could write an article about the first 18 years of his career with the City and get into the details of all of his accomplishments. A story about Fred Felton's impact on Gaithersburg. I think many people would be surprised. Oh, and maybe he can get a street named after him now that he's gone. He deserves it.

Posted by: frannie825 | May 19, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Last November, Fred Felton asked me to write a letter on his behalf to serve as a character reference for him. I was more than happy to do so, and this is what I wrote:

I have known Fred Felton for fourteen years, and worked with him very closely during my tenure on the Gaithersburg City Council from 2001 to 2007. As Assistant City Manager, one of Mr. Felton’s important roles was to act as a liaison with the Mayor and each Council Member to keep us advised and apprised of issues and matters that we would need to act on or address. I considered Mr. Felton to be extraordinarily valuable to the City and to me personally throughout my close association with him.

Mr. Felton’s institutional knowledge of the City of Gaithersburg coupled with his work ethic is unmatched. He was enormously effective representing the City in Annapolis and earned the respect of many of our Maryland State Legislators. He was also respected and appreciated by his staff and treated each of his employees accordingly. Mr. Felton was widely regarded as a dedicated, hard-working and responsive public servant within the Gaithersburg community.

I am happy to be a character reference for Mr. Felton, and can be contacted at

Sincerely yours,

John Schlichting
Executive Development Officer
The JBG Companies
Former City Councilmember, City of Gaithersburg, MD.

Posted by: jschlichting | May 19, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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