Re-election likely for council chairman


Prospects look good that David G. Boschert, the Crownsville Democrat, will retain his hold on the County Council chairmanship when it comes up for a vote tonight. Mr. Boschert, who has held the post for two one-year terms, is being challenged by Carl "Dutch" Holland, a Pasadena Republican and current council vice chairman. Most observers agree that each councilman has three of the four votes he needs to win, leaving Edward Middlebrooks, a Severn Democrat, as the swing vote.

In recent weeks, Mr. Middlebrooks had been hinting that he would consider voting for Mr. Holland, giving the seven-member council -- including five Democrats -- a Republican chairman.

Apparently, many county Democrats did not share Mr. Middlebrooks' spirit of bipartisanship.

"I've gotten calls from the Democratic party leadership. I've gotten calls from Democratic clubs. I've gotten calls from my own constituents, my own supporters, urging me to keep the council chairman a Democrat," Mr. Middlebrooks said Friday.

"I think certainly this is going to weigh heavily in my decision," he said. "I like to think I'm the kind of person who listens to my constituents and the people of Anne Arundel County.

"I've even gotten calls from two Republicans saying they wouldn't mind if the council remained in control of the Democrats," he said, declining to name them.

Mr. Middlebrooks said he would not make up his mind until today, after he has had a chance to consult with fellow council members. "I'd like some consensus on the council as to who the next chairman will be, no matter who it is," he said.

Mr. Holland was not about to throw in the towel, although he did express some annoyance about the intense lobbying against him.

"I think that it's a good, healthy sign when bipartisanship exists on the council, or any other legislative body," he said on Friday. "I'm optimistic. I have no reason not to be optimistic at this point. But anything could happen in the next 72 hours."

Mr. Boschert, too, was circumspect when asked about his assessment of his chances for re-election. "Let's just say I'm very confident things will work out," he said. "I'm not putting any undue pressure on any of [the council]. . . . I want all the council to vote for me because they think I have done a good job in the past."

He said he has not lobbied Mr. Middlebrooks for his vote. "I'm not going to put any pressure on him because everyone else is hitting on him," Mr. Boschert said.

Mr. Boschert said he was supporting Maureen Lamb, an Annapolis Democrat, for vice chairman. Mr. Boschert clashed with Mrs. Lamb when she was passed over for the vice chairmanship.

"She's fought many battles, won most of the time. She has shown improvement to me in her leadership abilities," Mr. Boschert said.

On tonight's agenda, the council will continue its consideration of legislation submitted by County Executive Robert R. Neall to close the financially troubled pension fund for elected and appointed officials and merge it with the general employees pension fund.

The council also will consider a bill submitted by Mr. Boschert and Ms. Lamb that would end the officials' pension fund and set up a defined contribution pension fund, in which officials contribute 4 percent of their salary and the county matches it.

The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the council chambers in the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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