"I think he has a very bright future," Snowden said. "He has many alternatives in front of him."

Angie Rodriguez is one who will keep a close watch on her councilman. She expects Jones to resume attending meetings of the Brooklyn Heights Improvement Association in Brooklyn Park — just as he did before he went to prison.

Rodriguez, the association's president, said she's no longer concerned about Jones' tax charge. She just wants to resume working with him to improve the community.

"Whatever happened in the past is in the past," she said. "It's no use in harboring ill feelings."

Another constituent watching closely is Smith, who plans to run for the council seat in 2014. After the court rulings, Smith welcomed Jones back at the September meeting, offering him a handshake and sharing a few words.

He said Jones is now "doing what he needs to do to get things back on track."

Since returning to the council, Jones has been outspoken on issues including stormwater fees. He thinks state legislators might change the law requiring Anne Arundel and other large counties to collect such fees — and he would welcome that, saying stormwater pollution is a statewide problem needing a statewide funding source.

Jones is pushing a bill to lower the stormwater fee to $1 for all property owners in Anne Arundel. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Nataf said Jones would be wise to focus on such high-profile issues. That's a good way to re-establish credibility in the community, especially if Jones plans to run for another elected office, Nataf said.

Nataf wouldn't be surprised to see Jones run for the House of Delegates. "The question is whether he can do enough to re-establish himself as a credible candidate," Nataf said, adding that he's not sure Jones has enough time to do that before the June 24 primary and the November general election.

Jones' effort to rebuild relationships includes those with council colleagues. He said there have been "no problems, no issues" with members since his return — even though it's the same council that booted him out of office less than two years ago.

At that time, some were sharply critical. In January 2012, as Jones pre-emptively fought his ouster, Councilman John Grasso called Jones a liar who didn't care about his constituents.

Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican who sits next to Jones in the council chambers, makes it clear he's not happy Jones is back. But he'll live with it.

"We all put aside political differences to do what's best," Grasso said.

And Benoit, who sponsored the bill that removed Jones, thinks the returning councilman can still be of service to the council — and his constituents.

"Daryl did the job for five years, so he knows what he's doing," Benoit said. "He'll pick up right where he left off."

pwood@baltsun.com

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