It is disappointing, though hardly a surprise, that members of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee don't feel the public has any right to know who they are considering to recommend as a replacement for Sen. Joseph Getty, who has taken a position with the incoming Hogan administration.
While the Frederick County Republican Central Committee last week released the names of people interested in filling the seat of Del. Kelly Schulz as she heads off to fill a position in Hogan's administration, Carroll's committee says the reason it wants to operate outside the public eye is because one of the applicants was worried about keeping their present job if it became known he or she applied.
A convenient excuse, to be sure, but not one that holds water when you consider that the names the committee picks, and the subsequent person chosen by the Governor, will represent just about all of Carroll in the state Senate for the next four years.
But then, this is the same group of people who Joseph Burns, as County Ethics Administrator, warned to keep quiet as they hatched a plan to try and oust newly elected county commissioner Dennis Frazier.
The committee likely has already pretty much decided who it will choose anyway – word in the GOP political circles is that Del. Justin Ready is the leading contender -- but they had an opportunity to at least put on the appearance of transparency.
If the committee does go with Ready, then a replacement will have to be found to fill the District 5 seat he will vacate. That responsibility will also fall to Carroll's Republican Central Committee. Rest assured, if they have already settled on Ready to replace Getty, they likely have settled on who they want to fill Ready's spot. No need to let average voting Republicans – the same people the candidates plead to for votes and money during the campaign season – have any say in the matter.
If they do go that route, and if they are smart, they will look to former Del. Don Elliott, who served Carroll well for years and only lost in the last election because his district was changed, or Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz, who has considerable experience in the political world and also ran for Delegate in the last election.
At the end of the day, however, the only thing Republican voters should remember is that their central committee is a closed group that prefers to operate behind closed doors. At a time when it should be looking for ways to make the process as open, transparent and inclusive as possible, the committee instead is focused on finding excuses to keep the public out.
The applicants themselves should be ashamed of being part of such a closed and secretive process; a process that will put a black stain on their appointment and serve as a slap in the face to the very voters they will be sworn to represent.