She said traffic is "one area where public health and safety really intersect."
The council also approved seven charter amendments, which:
- Remove the two-year ban on ex-council members taking jobs with the county government after they leave office;
- Require that in filling a vacancy in the office of the county executive, the person selected must be of the same political party as the departed executive and be nominated by that party's central committee;
- Change a requirement that notices of legislation, hearings and other official documents be published in two newspapers to one newspaper and on "an official site that is accessible to the public;"
- Move the submission date for the annual budget to the council from April 1 to April 15 and the date for budget enactment from May 31 to June 15.
- Clarify that both major political parties, as well as any other political party with at least 15 percent of the registered voters in the last election, are entitled to two seats on a redistricting commission appointed every two years to recommend changes in council district boundaries;
- Give council members more latitude to discuss zoning matters than they are permitted, so that the ban on discussing such matters applies only to "current cases filed and pending;" and
- Add the positions of council auditor, council attorney and council aide to the exempt service, meaning those are at-will positions.
Councilman Jim McMahan defended the amendment to remove the ban on ex-council members taking jobs with the county government after they leave office, calling that an "antiquated" practice.
"Not only is the practice antiquated, but it deprives the county of using an individual that has gained valuable experience," he said, adding the person could bring needed knowledge to the "sometimes parochial" sphere of government.
Regarding any argument about the elected official having inappropriate power, McMahan said, "I find that argument to be only in the minds of those who do not understand the system and the many layers that exist [in government]."
He said the amendment would put Harford County in line with the 21st century, and said no other counties have this kind of restriction.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti wanted the county executive vacancy amendment to require the council president to immediately assume the position of county executive and the council vice president to immediately become president.
That addition was voted down by the council. Vice president Dick Slutzky said he had "huge" problems with it, questioning if a council president would want to be "thrust" into the role of county executive, for one.
He also said as vice president, he would not necessarily want to take over the council president's role.
"I perceive this as having some difficulties and certainly for myself with this particular amendment," he said.
Lisanti voted against the county executive vacancy amendment, explaining she does not think the temporary replacement should be chosen based on party affiliation.
She said limiting it to political party is "narrow-minded" and "limits access to government."