Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is calling off one of the summer’s traditional hobnobbing events for politicians, lobbyists and other insiders.
Kamenetz has decided not to host the Baltimore County party at the summer conference of the Maryland Association of Counties in Ocean City. The conference is scheduled for Aug. 15-18.
Don Mohler, Kamenetz’s chief of staff, said the executive and some County Council members felt it wasn’t appropriate to hold the reception, given “the economic climate.”
“When everybody is being asked to cut back,” Mohler said, “he just didn’t think it was the right time to be hosting this party.”
The party wouldn’t have cost any taxpayer dollars, Mohler said.
Last year, each of the county council’s seven members chipped in $1,000 from their campaign funds, said Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat.
Private sponsors including lobbyists and development attorneys also paid for the event, said Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican.
Kamenetz’s decision came after a few council members objected to donating from their campaign accounts.
Almond said the members haven’t had money coming in because they don’t raise funds during the county’s Comprehensive Zoning Map Process.
“It was a nice party with lots of people, but I just didn’t feel it would be worth my thousand bucks this year,” Almond said.
Marks said he thought the county executive was right to cancel the event. “The senior citizen who gives me $40 for my campaign doesn’t want that money spent on this,” he said.
The party goes back several administrations, Mohler said, and drew elected officials from around Maryland. It was like “an open house for people who were in Ocean City,” he said. “It was a chance for people to network and get together.”