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Blatchford: No executive needed for charter; boycotts counterproductive to diversity

This week, a twofer is in the offing — providing a bit more diversity than is usual.

The first part was inspired by two articles published in this paper containing incomplete information — not of the fault of the authors or the paper.

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On June 11, a forum was held at the behest of the Carroll County Commissioners. The discussion was about the various forms of county government available to us. A presentation was made on the commissioner, code home rule and charter forms. The article on June 12 was comprehensive, and my only issue was with the presentation on charter form of government.

It seems that one salient fact is almost always ignored when it comes to discussing charter government. It appears that the forum speaker addressing charter government avoided one significant, possible alternative. The reporter, Mary Grace Keller, touched on it when she wrote, “A charter may be governed by a county executive and a council, thus separating the executive and legislative powers.”

Not shall be, but “may be.” It is my understanding that this statement brought her closer to addressing all of the alternatives than did the speaker.

The fact is that under the charter form, it is not necessary to have a county executive. This fact will be proven shortly. Emphasis is required because so many who have objections to the charter form seem to have concerns about the executive — too expensive, too much power for one person, etc. Under Maryland law, it is possible to have a county under charter government and no executive at all. The commissioners would simply be replaced by a county council.

We could keep five, go back to three or create a new number — but no exec. Got it? Here’s the proof.

First and foremost, two Maryland counties currently operate under a charter with no executive — Dorchester and Talbot. Almost half (eleven) of Maryland counties are under charter. Check it out. For further proof, the following is taken from the Maryland State Constitution, Article XI-A, Section 3: “Every charter so formed shall provide for an elective legislative body in which shall be vested the law-making power of said … County. Such legislative body … shall be known as the County Council of the County. The … County Executive, if any such charter shall provide for the election of such … County Executive …”

Bottom line? A county council is required but an executive is not.

Lastly, Bill Kennedy wrote on Monday of some perils of code home rule. Under this form, the General Assembly in Annapolis still has the ability to hamper self- determination in Carroll County. In essence, the charter form of government is the only alternative that most completely frees this county from the clutches of Annapolis.

My standard argument in this matter is that it’s nuts to surrender our right to self-determination to the Annapolis General Assembly — people who may never have set foot in Carroll County let alone even driven through. Don’t like a county executive? Fine. Write the charter without one. Either is fine. Just get out from under Annapolis.

Now a brief diversion to my second topic. Just who is the decider in your life? Are you in control? Think you can do pretty much what you choose as long as you stay within the reasonable norms of society? Really?

I heard something on the radio Tuesday that got me thinking. Perhaps I’m in control, but that doesn’t mean that others who have thoughts contrary to mine will agree.

I recall a few years back when there was a politician that I and many others disagreed with. Simply, his politics were objectionable. I and others who publicly took exception were called racist. This fabricated falsehood was used to influence/intimidate us.

How about independent entrepreneurs who take a public stand based upon their personal values? Those with an opposing view too often encourage boycotts often with hopes of forcing the entrepreneur out of business. In one case, even an institution of allegedly higher education in Ohio was involved.

Who empowered these people to hurt and damage others for their legal and personal beliefs — to which each of us is entitled? Third world countries behave thus. Are we, as a country, advancing or regressing? Such activity is counterproductive to the diversity about which so many speak.

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Sounds like social engineering through intimidation. They’ve been doing that in South America for years. Are we “catching up?”

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