Betting that Baltimore City Councilwoman Joan Carter Conway is a shoo-in to replace state Sen. John A. Pica Jr., council members wished her farewell yesterday at what was likely to be her last night as a member of the council.
Pica, who announced his resignation yesterday, effective Jan. 1, has said that he wants Conway to replace him, and she wants the seat.
"If I get it, it's good. If I don't, I love my colleagues in the City Council," Conway said after yesterday's council meeting, the last until Jan. 27 because of the holiday recess.
But Conway has to be approved by the five-member 43rd Legislative District Democratic State Central Committee, which will recommend Pica's successor to Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
Two members of the committee, Sylvia Williams and Rita R. Church, said they want Conway's seat in the 3rd Councilmanic District. William Henry II, the chief of staff for Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, also is seeking Conway's seat.
Conway's replacement, if she leaves, would be up to the City Council. But the recommendation of the other two 3rd District councilmen, Martin O'Malley and Robert Curran, would weigh heavily in the decision.
Curran, who also is a member of the district central committee, said Del. Ann Marie Doory and Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr., members of the House of Delegates from Northeast Baltimore's 43rd District, also have expressed interest in replacing Pica.
Williams, chairwoman of the central committee, said yesterday that she will hold a meeting as early as Dec. 17 to find out who else is interested in filling Pica's seat. She said she expects to call a vote after Christmas.
Since Pica controls at least three of the five votes on the central committee, Conway is the front-runner.
At yesterday's council meeting, members took the floor to offer her words of encouragement and to say goodbye.
"I enjoyed working with you," said 1st District Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. "We can't afford to lose you."
Conway, elected last year, has wielded influence in the council as chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee. She was instrumental in cutting the city's $2.3 billion budget last summer.
Also, in critical votes that pitted Bell against Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, she has sided with Bell.
And she is considered the glue that keeps the 3rd District delegation from falling apart because O'Malley and Curran often are at odds.
Conway is "one of the best friends I have on the council," O'Malley said.
Pub Date: 12/10/96