Herein are my thoughts on the forthcoming Bill 14-18 [regarding empowering the county executive to appoint deputy directors of departments]
The bill reads, in part: "The County Executive shall appoint a single officer to head each agency of the Executive Branch, AS WELL AS DEPUTY DIRECTORS OF AN AGENCY, subject to confirmation by the Council, as required by Section 223 of this Charter, and such officer AND DEPUTIES may be removed at the discretion of the County Executive."
This moves positions from "classified" (aka civil servant) to "appointed." There's no good argument for replacing skilled, career "classified" employees.
This is the same "revolving door" that the federal government prohibits for ethical reasons so that General Officers (GO) can't create jobs for themselves or their cronies after they leave their GO position. In the case of a GO, two years have to transpire before they can avail themselves of the "revolving door."
Deputy Directors should remain as "classified." Appointed should be subject to the same simple rules that the DOD and Federal Government use to restrict political cronyism. There should be a "four year" rule that assures these restrictions remain in place for the term of the new County Executive.
In the case of Harford County, this bill may enable Council Members, County Executive, or Council President to be appointed Deputy by the incoming County Executive or any number of politically associated individuals to be appointed to the membership of all boards and commissions in the Executive Branch. This also paves the way for someone to be appointed to the future Water and Sewer Authority (another problem area)…
This should concern anyone who's bothered by the absence of raises for teachers or the appearance of impropriety in government.
Political appointees will not be poorly paid in terms of income.
Better to pay classified employees and teachers than reward the politically-connected.
This bill has serious ethical issues and omissions. Elected officials shouldn't propose or enact legislation that has the appearance of benefiting or may benefit former County Executives, Council Members, or Campaign Managers or Contributors. This bill needs to be tightened up to preclude the revolving door of cronyism with the same kind of restrictions used throughout the government.
Byron R. Hawley