Baltimore County Council elects Quirk to serve as chairman for 2019

Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk is set to lead his colleagues as the council’s chairman for a third time.

Quirk, an Oella Democrat, was elected 7-0 to the position Monday at the council’s first meeting of the year.

He said the council will confront tough fiscal choices in the coming year as it works with new County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.

“We all know that we face some pretty significant challenges and decisions, especially on the capital budget,” Quirk told his colleagues at the meeting. “But I’m confident that working together, we’re going to meet these challenges head-on. And we all know that we can no longer kick the can down the road.”

First elected to the council in 2010, the 49-year-old Quirk previously served as chairman in 2013 and 2017. He is a financial planner whose district encompasses southwest Baltimore County.

Several council members, including Quirk, fended off challengers to win re-election last year. The only new member is Councilman Izzy Patoka, a Pikesville Democrat elected to the seat formerly held by Vicki Almond. Almond, also a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for county executive.

Quirk said that so far, the council has had “really good dialogue and communication” with Olszewski Jr., a Democrat who took office in December.

Generally, members of the council’s majority party — currently Democrats — rotate the chairmanship among themselves. The chairperson leads meetings, sets the council’s agendas and performs other administrative duties.

Quirk takes over the role from Councilman Julian Jones, a Woodstock Democrat who led the council in 2018.

Jones was the first black councilman to serve as chair. He presided over the council’s process of selecting a new county executive after Kevin Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest last spring. The council picked Don Mohler, Kamenetz’s chief of staff, to serve out the term.

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