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End of the Bohrer-Katz Era in Gaithersburg

Sidney Katz officially resigned as mayor of the City of Gaithersburg after the election for the District 3 seat on the Montgomery County Council on November 4. As he ran unopposed, he was simply waiting for the election to be official before resigning as Mayor. Sidney Katz and his erstwhile mentor, Ed Bohrer, have been the driving forces in Gaithersburg government since 1974, garnering accolade after accolade on the national level for the city.

Difficult as it is to comprehend, Eddie Bohrer was as close to being universally beloved as any person, let alone politician, can ever hope to be. He lived his entire life in Gaithersburg, attending Gaithersburg schools from kindergarten through graduation. He married  a home town “girl-next-door” who, though unrelated, had the same rare last name as his.

As a young husband and father, Ed Bohrer began serving the city on the Gaithersburg Planning Commission, from 1974 to 1978, and then moved to the City Council from 1976 to 1986, and then was elected to four terms as Mayor beginning in 1986 and served until his death on August 27, 1998. Ed and Sharon were outstanding in their dedication to the city.

Ed was an admirable combination of family man and public servant. Difficult though it must have been, neither role took precedence over the other. His dedication to the city is as legendary as it was remarkable. He introduced his speeches saying, “I have the honor of being the Mayor of the greatest city in the world.” Never did he leave any doubt that he believed what he said.

He began a policy of having city staff get back to people who contacted the city, and he led by example. He was personable, witty, fun, and knew every house in Gaithersburg, and to a large extent every resident of those houses. He had a steely determination to never let the city tax rate go up.

He was able to bring factions together as he worked with all members of the council, and especially with his friend and early protégé, Sidney Katz.

Like Ed, Sidney is from Gaithersburg and attended its schools from kindergarten through high school graduation. Like Bohrer, Katz began serving the city early, beginning on the Gaithersburg Planning Commission from 1976 to 1978, the City council from 1978 to 1998, and Mayor since 1998 when Ed Bohrer died in office. Like Ed Bohrer, he has had a steely determination not to raise the tax rate; like Ed Bohrer, he has made the position of mayor a 24/7 job; like Ed Bohrer, he introduces speeches saying, “I have the honor of being Mayor of the greatest city in the world.” When you hear him say that, you feel that you truly are sitting in the greatest place in the world. Like Ed Bohrer, he conducts business with wit and humor.

Sidney’s dedication to the city is such that once when he was having coffee with friends, a local resident wanted to tell him that his spouse tripped on a crack in a sidewalk. Rather than resenting the intrusion, Sidney immediately left with the resident to find out exactly where the problem was so that he could get it fixed.

Sidney’s wife, Sally, credits Ed and Sharon Bohrer with demonstrating how a political couple can function for the benefit of the constituents. Sally said that Ed and Sharon always attended events together, and she and Sidney have followed that example.

While Sally may have used Sharon as a role model, however, she has a personality characterized by wit and patience which uniquely suits her to support her husband’s position. [See International Award-winning articles, How Do Our Spouses Cope.]

Bohrer and Katz shepherded Gaithersburg from a sleepy farm town to one of the three largest cities in Maryland. It has been a great gift to Gaithersburg that two of its children could guide its direction for forty years.

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