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News Maryland Anne Arundel County Odenton

Arundel councilman says he won't resign to make way for Jones' return

Anne Arundel County Councilman Peter Smith said Monday he won't resign from office in light of a court ruling that his predecessor was removed improperly.

"It is my decision not to resign as councilman for the First District and to allow the legal process to take its course," Smith said at the opening of Monday's County Council meeting in Annapolis, the final meeting before an August recess. "This will allow a smoother process while not creating an unnecessary vacancy on the council."

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that the County Council erred when it declared the seat vacant when then-Councilman Daryl Jones served a five-month federal sentence in 2012 for failing to file tax returns.

Smith, a Democrat from Severn, was selected to fill Jones's seat representing northern and western parts of the county after more than 100 votes by the council.

The Court of Appeals sent Jones's case back to the Circuit Court, where a judge could award Jones his seat back. The court has yet to act.

Smith said Monday that he'll follow any decision by the Circuit Court. Over the weekend, he sent an email message to supporters saying that he still intends to run for a full term in 2014 and is planning a bull roast fundraiser in August.

Smith's comments were praised by two of his Republicans colleagues on the council, Dick Ladd of Severna Park and John Grasso of Glen Burnie.

Ladd said he was "delighted" to hear Smith planned to stay. "We need young people, a man of your integrity and your foresight," Ladd said.

Grasso echoed Ladd's comments and added: "Hopefully Mr. Smith will stay here with us for a lot longer. Kudos to him."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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