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Proposed changes to charter praised by Annapolis residents


A set of proposed charter amendments for Annapolis that would change the face of city government received high praise from residents, business owners and civic organizations at a city council public hearing last night.

Supporters applauded the 11 proposals, calling them "long overdue." The proposals include placing day-to-day government operations in the hands of a city administrator, abolishing city council committees and prohibiting aldermen from interfering in the city's daily operations.

"I'm in favor with all of the charter amendments," said A. L. Waldron, a city resident speaking before the council. "I feel that they're somewhat overdue, maybe 25 to 30 years overdue, perhaps."

The proposed amendments originated from a report by the Annapolis Governmental Structure and Charter Revision Commission, which presented a 20-page report in September. The nine-member commission's report led to proposals that would transfer approval of conditional use zoning designations from the council to the city Board of Appeals and turn over the council's authority to approve subdivisions to the Planning Commission.

Under these amendments, former Mayor Richard Hillman, who serves as chairman of the Planning Commission, said the city "would avoid duplication of hearings" held by the commission and council for approval of conditional uses.

Other recommendations from the government restructuring commission included:

Defining the roles of city administrator and mayor. The mayor would have the power to hire and fire the administrator.

Prohibiting aldermen from interfering in the administration of the city. Violators would face discipline from the council.

Eliminating the two-term limit for mayor.

Abolishing city council committees, requiring instead that all business be conducted by the whole council.

Providing for nonpartisan elections of mayor and aldermen.

Giving city voters the right to recall elected city officials.

Chris Keleher was one of the few who voiced objections to the proposals.

"There are department heads who are are not performing up to standards who are still around," said Keleher, a resident and columnist for the Publick Enterprise, a local publication. "Nothing's going to change. It seems to me the city administrator is just another political appointee appointed by the mayor."

The amendments were originally scheduled for a vote by the council Dec. 9, but Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins announced last night that the vote would take place Jan. 13.

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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