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Delegation won't hold pre-legislative meeting, cites lack of agenda from county exec

Breaking with tradition, Harford County's state legislative delegation has announced it will not hold a pre-session legislative meeting this year, citing a lack of a legislative agenda from the county executive as the reason.

Delegation chair Rick Impallaria sent an e-mail to Harford County Executive David Craig, Harford County Council President Billy Boniface and various government department and municipality leaders earlier this week informing them of the decision.

"The Harford County Delegation has decided that, since the County Executive has announced that he has no legislative agenda for the County in 2012, there will be no pre-session legislative meeting this year," the e-mail read. "However, the Delegation is very interested in hearing your individual concerns. This applies to any departments in the executive branch as well."

Impallaria encouraged those who do have a legislative package to contact him.

On the phone Thursday, Craig confirmed that he has no intention of giving an agenda to the delegation.

"When I push issues, they get upset. And now that I'm not pushing an issue, they're upset," Craig said, calling some members argumentative.

Delegates have said in the past that whatever legislative measures they bring up when the Maryland General Assembly goes into session every January come from the county executive.

With no platform from him specifically, Craig said, "Maybe they'll finally realize who's in charge," adding that the delegation will have no one to blame but themselves if they bring up an unpopular issue.

If issues arise that need attention from the General Assembly, Craig continued, he'll address them as they come.

"They don't work as diligently as they need to," Craig said about the delegation. "It's time for me to spend my time doing other constructive things."

The county executive believes the delegation has no intention of having a meeting with the county's various entities because, in previous years, the announcement for meeting in November would come in September.

With December right around the corner and no previous contact about a meeting, Craig said he believes there was never going to be a meeting this year in the first place and they are using him as an excuse.

"There are some good members of the Harford County Delegation," Craig said, "but the weak ones weaken the whole group."

The county executive isn't the only one to bring issues to the delegation, he said. The school board, liquor board, library, humane society, county council often submit legislative agendas or meet with the local delegates and state senators to discuss legislation prior to the session.

Craig said he hopes the delegation will still meet with those other agencies so their voices are heard.

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