Mayor & City Council

City of Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council

Gaithersburg operates under the council-manager form of municipal government, with the City Manager being appointed by the City Council. The Mayor and City Council is the chief legislative body for Gaithersburg. In addition to approving the annual budget and setting the tax rate, the elected officials also focus on strategic planning, community growth, economic development, land use development, and capital improvements.

There are formal council sessions the first and third Monday of each month, during which the Mayor and City Council discuss issues and approve legislation. On the off Mondays there are public work sessions where the elected officials discuss relevant City business. This is a time of research, problem-solving and informal decision-making. Agendas and minutes of past meetings are available online. Council meetings and work sessions are televised live and may be viewed online or on the City’s cable TV channel. Archived meetings may also be viewed online.

Occasional Council in the Communities meetings foster two-way communication and allow citizens to discuss issues and concerns specific to their neighborhoods. Conversely, City officials and staff use the meetings to gather feedback on specific capital improvement projects and to poll citizens on relevant topics impacting Gaithersburg.

Sections 5 and 16 of the City Charter establish the salary and benefits of the Mayor and members of the City Council. For a complete summary of benefits available to the City of Gaithersburg’s Mayor and City Council members, please see Summary of Benefits for Elected Officials in the Related Documents section of this page.

Mayor Jud Ashman

Council Member Jud Ashman

Education: University of Miami - B.A. Communications/Political Science
Occupation: President - Web Mobile Image LLC
Civic Experience: City of Gaithersburg: Mayor 2014 – Present, Council Member 2007 - 2014, Council Vice President 2011; Founder and Chair, Gaithersburg Book Festival 2009 - present; Board of Directors, Orchard Place Homeowners Association 2007 - present; Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Election Participation 2007; Coordinator, Quince Orchard Cluster of PTA’s 2005 - 2007; Board of Directors, MCCPTA 2005 - 2007; President, Brown Station Elementary School PTA 2002 - 2003; Gaithersburg Citizens for Smarter Growth, Founding Member 2001.
Gaithersburg Committee Liaison: Gaithersburg Book Festival Committee (Chair), Gaithersburg Police Foundation
Family: Married to Lee Ashman; two children

Council Vice President
Michael A. Sesma

Council Member Michael A. Sesma

Education: University of California, San Diego - Revelle College, Bachelor’s in Biology and Psychology; University of California, Riverside, PhD in Psychology
Occupation: Neuroscientist, Educator. Currently Chief, Postdoctoral Training Branch, Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity, National Institute of General Medical Sciences/National Institutes of Health.
Civic Experience: City of Gaithersburg: Council Member 2005 - present, Council Vice President 2016, 2013 & 2009; National League of Cities Board of Directors 2015 & 2013, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee 2007 - present; Alderman, City of Pasadena Hills, MO 1986 - 1988, 1990 - 1992; Trustees of Pasadena Hills, Trustee and Treasurer 1992 - 1994; Diamond Elementary School: PTA 1995 - 2000, Quince Orchard Cluster Representative 1997 - 2000; Quince Orchard High School PTSA, 1995 - 1999; Kingsview Middle School: PTSA President 2001 - 2003, Quince Orchard and Northwest Cluster Representative 2000 - 2001; Gaithersburg Citizens for Smarter Growth, founding member 2001.
Gaithersburg Committee Liaison: Cultural Arts Advisory
Family: Married to Joan Adams Sesma; three children

Council Member Neil Harris

Neil H. Harris

Education: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, MBA; University of Maryland University College, B.S. Business & Management
Occupation: High Technology Entrepreneur. Currently: Owner, Omega Leadership Consulting
Civic Experience: City of Gaithersburg: Council Member 2014 – present; Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: Board Member, 2015 – present; Transportation Planning Board, 2014 – present; Kentlands Citizens Assembly: Chairman, 2013 – 2014, President 2006 – 2008; City of Gaithersburg Economic and Business Development Committee, 2013 – 2014; Maryland Corridor Cities Transitway Area 1 Advisory Committee, 2014.
Gaithersburg Committee Liaison: Transportation
Family: Married to Michelle Harris; three children

Council Member
Henry F. Marraffa, Jr.

Council Member Henry F. Marraffa, Jr.

Education: Southeastern University, BBA in Business Management, Univ. of Maryland, Engineering
Occupation: Retired. Remodeling Contractor.
Civic Experience: City of Gaithersburg: Council Member 1995 -1999 and 2000 - present, Council Vice President 2014, 2008 & 2003, Planning Commission 1999 - 2000, Board of Appeals 1993 - 1995; National League of Cities: Board of Directors 2006 - 2008, Community & Economic Development Steering Committee 1998 - present, Chairman 2006, Vice Chair 2005, Appointed to Task Force on Immigration 2005; Maryland Municipal League Board of Directors 2006 - 2008; Gubernatorial Appointment to Maryland Task Force on Eminent Domain 2004; Gubernatorial Appointment to the Maryland Physical Fitness Commission 1985; Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Junior Olympic Track and Field Program, 1980; Past President of West Riding Homeowners Civic Association.
Gaithersburg Committee Liaison: Olde Towne Advisory, Senior Advisory
Family: Married to Donna Jean Marraffa; 5 children, 6 grandchildren

Council Member Ryan Spiegel

Council Member Ryan Spiegel

Education: University of Maryland Honors Program - B.A. Journalism, Stanford Law School - J.D.
Occupation: Partner at the law firm of Paley Rothman in Bethesda, MD.
Civic Experience: City of Gaithersburg: Council Member 2007 - present, Council Vice President 2015 & 2012; National League of Cities Transportation Infrastructure & Services Policy and Advocacy Committee 2009 - present; Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: Climate, Energy & Environment Policy Committee 2010 - present, Metropolitan Development Policy Committee Alternate 2008 - present; Maryland Municipal League: Montgomery County Chapter President 2015 - Present, District Vice President to MML Board of Directors 2015 - Present, Montgomery County Chapter Vice President 2012 - 2015, Executive Board 2010 - 2011; National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board Alternate 2008 - present; Gaithersburg Education Committee 2006 - 2007; Victim Services Advisory Board of Montgomery County: Chairman 2005 - 2006, Vice Chair 2004 - 2005; Board of Directors of University of Maryland Hillel 2007 - 2009; Board of Directors of Youth Achieve, Inc. 2007- present; Board of Directors of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society 2000 - 2002; Board of Directors of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity 1999 - 2000; Graduate of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance.
Gaithersburg Committee Liaison: Economic and Business Development, Multicultural Affairs
Family: Married to Rachael Spiegel; two children.

Council Member Robert T. Wu

Robert T. Wu

Education: Thesis Pending, George Washington University Law School, Masters of Law Candidate; University of San Francisco School of Law, Juris Doctor with Honors; Tufts University, Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Studies
Occupation: Senior Attorney, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Judge Advocate, U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command
Civic Experience: U.S. Army active duty 2003 to 2009; U.S. Army Reserves 1999 to 2003, 2009 to present; U.S. Army Civilian 2009 to 2013; Watkins Mill Town Center HOA Board of Directors 2014 to present; City of Gaithersburg Transportation Committee 2015 to present; VFW 2003 to present; American Legion 2014 to present; American Bar Association 2009 to present; Brown Station Elementary School PTA 2014 to present
Gaithersburg Committee Liaison: Environmental Affairs Committee, Policy Advisory Committee
Family: Married to Itsuko Jamie Udaka; one child