Arundel council gone mad


THEY MAY NOT know it, but members of the Anne Arundel County Council have become laughing stocks.

Folks in other jurisdictions are saying, "We have our problems, but at least we're not the Anne Arundel County Council."

How bad are things on the Arundel council?

Some current events:

Behavior at Monday night's meeting was so appalling that a spectator wondered if members needed boxing gloves; another suggested a nursemaid.

A deputy county attorney complained about the way a council member harangued him during discussion of a budget amendment: "All you do any time I answer a question is scream and holler. If that's your idea of civility, then God help us all."

Another council member, strangely, started speaking in Spanish.

Earlier this month, The Sun reported that three council members requested new locks for their doors amid concerns that aides eavesdropped on conversations, voice mail messages mysteriously disappeared and desks were searched for legislative ideas.

Council Chairwoman Shirley Murphy is first on the list of those to blame. She's committed, but not assertive enough to bring the group together.

On Monday, Ms. Murphy watched helplessly as Donald E. Klosterman - the ousted former chairman - and two Republicans hijacked the responsibility of naming a five-member charter review commission to redraw council lines.

Ms. Murphy dithered instead of taking the initiative. She should have proposed a clear process for appointing commission members.

Others aren't helping, either. Councilman John J. Klocko III has been particularly horrid at meetings, improperly and excessively badgering officials.

This county council should be embarrassed. If it hasn't lost the respect of Anne Arundel citizens, it soon will. Every member, especially Ms. Murphy, should issue an apology for turning council chambers in Annapolis into a madhouse.

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