THE CHARTER REVIEW Commission in Howard County fell short of its goal to remove politics from the process of redrawing councilmanic boundary lines. Thus, residents have no compelling reason Tuesday to vote for the creation of a special seven-member commission to draw the lines each decade.
The commission would be just as political as the County Council, which now draws the lines. The party with a council majority would appoint four members to the panel; the minority party would name three. The proposal, Question B, falsely gives an impression of removing politics from redistricting. Voters should reject it, but vote for the other ballot questions.
QUESTION A: For. A change of language to clearly explain the grounds under which a council member would forfeit office.
QUESTION C: For. Removes a requirement that council holds a legislative session in December. The charter now requires council to hold sessions every month except August.
QUESTION D: For. Laws take effect 61 days after enactment instead of 60. This would give an extra day to challengers of new laws to file petitions seeking a referendum.
QUESTION E: For. Raises maximum fines from $100 to $1,000 for failure to obey a council order. This would provide greater flexibility, even though no fines have been levied even at the lesser level.
QUESTION F: For. Changes a title from "Appeal Boards" to "Board of Appeals."
QUESTION G: For. Requires capital equipment purchases to hTC have at least three years of life. This provides clarity.
QUESTION H: For. A technical change for "rainy day" fund calculations.
QUESTION I: For. Broadens language for county purchasing partnerships.
QUESTION J: For. Forbids council to accept gifts of more than "nominal" value.
QUESTION K: For. Allows alternatives to firing in conflicts of interest by county officials and workers. Circumstances in individual cases might make a lesser penalty more appropriate.
QUESTION L: For. Changes "council secretary" to "administrator" and "county administrator" to "chief administrative officer."
QUESTION M: For. Makes all pronouns in the charter gender-neutral.
Pub Date: 10/30/96