Towson councilman calls for public input on interim county executive pick

David Marks put out a call for public comment Wednesday as the Baltimore County Council considers who to select as an interim county executive, after Kevin Kamenetz died unexpectedly last Thursday.

The letter, posted on Facebook, comes a day after council Chairman Julian Jones told the Baltimore Sun he does not plan to hold public hearings on the replacement, saying council members were elected to make decisions like that.

Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest on May 10. County administrator Fred Homan is currently serving as the interim county executive under rules set out in the county’s charter.

Jones said the earliest the County Council can vote on a replacement is May 24.

The full text of Marks’ letter:

“The death of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was a stunning and tragic event. The County Executive was a strong, smarter leader who contributed much to the region over the past 24 years.

It was inappropriate to speculate on the choosing of a successor until the conclusion of religious ceremonies. Now, the County Council should turn its attention to filling the vacancy.

According to the county charter, the replacement must be of the same political party, a Democrat. The successor must meet the requirements spelled out in the charter, such as age [21 or older] and residency [Baltimore County resident for minimum of three years].

In my discussions with my colleagues, I have also discussed two other criteria. First, the candidate must have unquestioned integrity. Second, the interim County Executive must have the ability to work with all stakeholders to get things done.

A Baltimore County Executive has never died in office. The last time Baltimore County had to replace a County Executive was in 1974, when the County Administrative Officer was selected to take over from Dale Anderson, who was criminally charged. In 2013, the Anne Arundel County Council filled a vacancy in the office of County Executive after an exhaustive interview process.

Unlike Anne Arundel County, there is only about six months remaining in this term. The Council should move efficiently, but want residents of the Fifth County Council district to know they can always contact me to pass along their thoughts. What qualities and qualifications do you want in the interim County Executive?

I look forward to hearing input at dmarks@baltimorecountymd.gov.”

Pamela Wood contributed to this story.

asolomon@baltsun.com

twitter.com/libsolomon

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