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Editorial: Keep waiting

Local Government

The Harford County Council, "with no ulterior motive," according to Councilman Jim McMahan, has decided that the time is right to end the two-year waiting period for county council members to be eligible for county government jobs after they leave office.

The proper way to end the two-year prohibition, if it even needs to be changed, is for it to take effect after the next Harford County Council is seated following the November 2014 election. More precisely, it should not take effect until December 2016, two years after the next elected Harford County Council is sworn in. This way, the rules aren't being changed in the middle of the game for the current players serving on the council.

The post-service employment ban had been unquestioned since the Harford County Charter was adopted in 1972, including as recently as the past year when the council-appointed Charter Review Board took a look at the charter and suggested changes and updates. Ending the two-year waiting period for Harford County Council members before they could get a county government job, wasn't one of its recommended changes.

Conversely, the charter review board did recommend adopting an amendment limiting future council members to two consecutive terms. Not surprisingly, that suggestion went nowhere with the council members.

This end to the employment ban was solely McMahan's brainchild, he said, asserting there was no ulterior motive other than changing an antiquated portion of the charter. Maybe so, but the current provision should still apply to this county council.

Time has a way of answering questions of motivation in cases such as this. With the next county election still a little more than two years away, there's plenty of time for the charter to be changed and for those claiming there's no ulterior motive to change their minds about getting a county government job.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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