Some question Avery's simultaneous runs for CA and Council

Reg Avery has been keeping busy. The Oakland Mills Village Board vice chair and PTA Council of Howard County executive vice president announced last month that he was running for County Council in Columbia's District 2 as a Republican.

Then, earlier this month, Avery filed to represent Oakland Mills on the Columbia Association Board, a seat for which he is running unopposed.


Avery's involvement in multiple campaigns and groups has left some questioning whether he is restricted by any organizational rules against running for office.

According to Avery, he's not – at least for the moment.


"I went through and had my attorney look through the [CA] bylaws, and there's nothing in there that says this is not allowed," he said.

CA's code of ethics is another story.

One code of ethics clause states that "a member of the Board, upon declaring candidacy for election to public office, shall resign from the Board."

Avery would assume his seat on the CA Board after elections for the body are held at the end of April. The primary election for the County Council is not until June 24.

According to CA's general counsel, Sheri Fanaroff, Avery would not be able to serve on the CA Board and run for the County Council at the same time.

"It would be up to Mr. Avery to decide which one he wants to do," CA spokesman David Greisman wrote in an email conveying Fanaroff's interpretation.

Avery also has the option of requesting that the CA Board grant a waiver of the rule, according to Greisman. He could request the exception at the CA's first meeting in May after new board members are elected.

Tom Coale, a former Dorsey's Search Village Board member who resigned his seat when he decided to run for the State House in District 9B as a Democrat, said he felt the rules were "pretty straightforward.


"You can't have a member of a nonprofit board that is required to be apolitical soliciting and receiving potential contributions from contractors with CA [and others]," he said.

Avery might run into some issues with the PTACHC, as well — a section of the group's bylaws reads that "the organization or members in their official capacities shall not, directly or indirectly, participate or intervene… in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office."

However, Avery said, the PTACHC bylaws are currently under review and he thought the group would likely remove restrictions on political activity.

"That's one of the things that's going to be removed from the bylaws, not just for me, but for anyone – it just doesn't make any sense," he said.

Avery said he didn't think he was doing anything wrong or unethical in running for CA and the Council. He pointed to Vice President Joe Biden's simultaneous campaigns for Senate and the White House, as well as U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's simultaneous campaigns for Congress and for vice president alongside Mitt Romney.

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Avery said he had contacted the state's attorney general's office, which oversees bylaws for homeowners' associations, for clarification.


He called the questioning part of the political process.

"There's some individuals that are concerned that I may be able to do something here," he said.

Siddiqui endorsed by Cummings

District 13 delegate candidate Nayab Siddiqui has picked up an endorsement from Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Siddiqui sent out an email with the news, informing supporters that he had met with Cummings to ask for his endorsement. "He was very emphatic and, without any hesitation, accepted my request," Siddiqui wrote.

Cummings, a Democrat whose district encompasses most of Howard County as well as half of Baltimore City, had endorsed Siddiqui's wife, School Board member Janet Siddiqui, for District 13 before she withdrew her candidacy last month.