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Letters: Charter government without a county executive; Taneytown Civil War memorial ill-conceived

What about charter government with no county executive?

The Feb. 19 edition of the Carroll County Times contained another op-ed regarding the discussion of establishing charter government for Carroll County. The headline for this article sounded promising about removing some of the mysteries about the various forms of county government — commissioner (the oldest), charter (the “middle child”) and code home rule (the newest choice).

This article, in addition to earlier pieces by Commissioner Eric Bouchat and Bruce Holstein seemed to concentrate on the topic of commissioner vs. charter with a county executive and mentioning that with executives comes increase expenses to be borne by taxpayers. All three writers seemed to ignore one option permitted under the charter form of government. None has specifically highlighted the possibility of the charter form of government with no county executive (at least one less person on the payroll — not to mention executive staff).

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A small amount of research discovered this option that the earlier writers did not mention. Essentially, it’s the charter form of county government without a county executive. The Maryland Association of Counties published the “2019 Newly Elected Officials Orientation” that states in part, “The remaining two counties [without county executives] have an elected council that retains both executive and legislative powers.” Those two counties are Talbot and Dorchester.

As further evidence, the Maryland state constitution in Article XI-A, Section 3 states in part the following:

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“SEC. 3. Every charter so formed shall provide for an elective legislative body in which shall be vested the law-making power of said City or County. Such legislative body… in any county shall be known as the County Council of the County. The chief executive officer or County Executive, if any such charter shall provide for the election of such executive officer or County Executive, or the presiding officer of said legislative body, if such charter shall not provide for the election of a chief executive officer or County Executive, shall be known… in any County as the President or Chairman of the County Council of the County…”

The conclusion? This is almost like a fourth option for Carroll citizens to consider. Those four options would be the commissioner form, Code Home Rule, charter with an executive and charter with a county council.

It would appear that the charter form of government, without an executive, would be very similar to our current commissioner form and still free the county from dependence on the machine currently residing in the General Assembly down in Annapolis.

Rick Blatchford

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Mount Airy

Proposed Taneytown Civil War memorial ill-conceived

I’ve been reading in local and national newspapers about some crackpot sculptor who has decided that Taneytown should be the location of his profoundly ugly and inappropriate Civil War memorial. What has most amazed me about these articles is that some elected officials in Taneytown are actually pondering the merit of this proposal and are wasting considerable energy on consideration of it.

I don’t reside in Taneytown but I am a longtime resident of Carroll County with friends residing in that city. My county already has a negative connotation in the minds of many Marylanders because it continues to harbor policies which barely conceal an intolerant mindset — policies that disparage affordable housing for all and transit programs that would benefit the many who work outside the county.

That said, the proposed memorial should be a no-brainer for elected officials who should be preoccupied with the opioid crisis that beleaguers the county at large and each of its municipalities; in addition to unrestricted gun sales at places outside licensed gun shops, thus possibly placing both schools and employers at risk of another crackpot assassin.

Taneytown in particular should be focused on ridding itself of the perpetually time-wasting Councilman Donald Frazier and replacing him with a law-abiding, level-headed person who would have their constituent’s best interest at heart. However, it appears that the council and mayor have considerable free time for thumb twiddling and day dreaming of an ill-conceived memorial for its citizens to pay for.

Every Carroll countian has a stake in how this matter is handled by Taneytown’s elected officials. Residents of Taneytown have only to consider their local elections this May and whether they want to re-install officials who can’t recognize a Trojan Horse when it is wheeled before its City Hall.

Cornelius “Neil” Ridgely

Reisterstown

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