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Delegation members respond to Craig's criticism, defend their record

After being called out by Harford County Executive David Craig last week for not working "as diligently as they need to," Del. Rick Impallaria and Sen. Barry Glassman are defending the county's delegation.

"People are who they are and we're not going to change them," Impallaria, the delegation's chair, said earlier this week. "I'm just ignoring the comments from Mr. Craig."

Craig's comments slamming the delegation is something "we haven't seen before," Impallaria said, and wasn't entirely surprising.

The county executive also spoke out against the delegation in a recent article in The Daily Record, calling them "totally inept."

Craig is quoted as saying in the article that he would most likely not send any legislation to the delegation for this upcoming session, a statement he confirmed last week after Impallaria sent an e-mail explaining the delegation would have no pre-session legislative meeting because of a lack of an agenda from Craig.

Glassman, who represents the northern parts of the county, said the Daily Record article is the genesis of "this little dust up."

"We were all taken a little aback because it came out of the blue," Glassman said about the article, adding that the "bad blood" is "counterproductive."

Impallaria, who also represents parts of Baltimore County, said he met recently with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz about his agenda for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 9.

"We don't get into shouting matches with him," Impallaria said. "With David, I can't say I've gotten in a shouting match with him because I haven't met with him once in the eight years he's been in office."

Craig does come to the delegation, Impallaria continued, when "he wants to raise taxes," referring to the hotel tax. "That's the only agenda we've seen out of him."

Even without an agenda from the county executive, the delegation is still meeting with different agencies and departments.

So far, they have met with the county liquor control board and highway department, and will meet with Harford Community College soon.

Impallaria said this strategy of meeting individually, rather than one after the other in one day, with agencies and departments might be more beneficial.

"Rather than have all these people march in — and many show up even if they don't have anything — [it's better] to meet individually rather than everyone in one day," he said."If any of them have issues, we'll be happy to sit down with them and work with them. All they have to do is pick up the phone."

Defending the delegation, Glassman said, "Over the year's we've basically moved forward with the things he [Craig] has asked for. The only thing they [the delegation] has turned down is the hotel tax."

When Glassman was chairman previously, there was a death in the delegation staff one year and asked for agencies to send in their legislative agendas.

"It works just as well," he commented.

With the Maryland General Assembly meeting in almost one month exactly, Glassman feels despite all of this the county's representatives are "pretty well prepared."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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