The first woman elected to the Westminster City Council sat quietly and listened Monday as the debate over City Hall expansion intensified.

Many times in the past she'd been involved in similar deliberations, faced with making tough decisions and taking unpopular stances.

On this night, however, she gladly sat back and observed as otherelected officials engaged in debate.

Was it Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein, who made history by winning a seat in last month's election, taking a laissez-faire approach to city issues?

Nope, it wasJoy L. Neugebauer, a member of the City Council of Westminster, Calif.

Neugebauer and council colleague Frank Fry made a visit to Carroll last week during a trip to Emmitsburg, Frederick County, for a weeklong conference.

While in the area, they dropped in on their counterparts on the City Council here and took in part of Monday's meeting.

"We're enjoying very much being on this side of the table," Neugebauer quipped after Council President William F. Haifley welcomed the West Coast visitors to the meeting.

Neugebauer was first elected to the council in 1968, and has previously served as mayor. Unlikethe mayoral post here, the mayor in Westminster, Calif., is a votingmember of the five-person council.

Monday's visit wasn't the first time elected officials from the "sister" cities got together.

Members of the California council have visited Carroll's county seat before. And on Flag Day in 1985, the two Westminster councils were linked by telephone for a joint recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Westminster, Calif., is south of Los Angeles in Orange County, and has a population of 78,000.

The West Coast council is spared a city government space crisis. The California city built a new City Hall in 1978, Neugebauer said.

But the cities share the task of confronting growth strains. In recent years, an influx of Vietnamese and other East Asian immigrants has led to the establishment of more than 1,500 new businesses in the California community, she said.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad