Harford County Council begins term with new president, three new members

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One day after their inauguration, members of the Harford County Council took part in their first legislative session Tuesday.

Council President Patrick Vincenti, elected to his first term leading the seven-member council, presided over a meeting in Bel Air that was brief on major issues, but highlighted by members expressing thanks and hope for the future.

Vincenti, a Republican, thanked the voters “for placing their trust and confidence, not only in me, but in this entire council to legislate on their behalf.” He said he looked forward to working with the council, and was confident the body would “act in a professional manner with one purpose, and that’s to best serve all of the citizens of Harford County.”

In addition to a new president, the council has two new members: District A Democrat Andre Johnson and District C Republican Tony Giangiordano. Another member, District E Republican Robert Wagner, is returning to the council after an absence. Wagner served from 1990 to 2006 — as the District E representative for 12 years and council president for his last four.

District B Councilman Joe Woods, District D Councilman Chad Shrodes and District F Councilman Curtis Beulah, all Republicans, were re-elected.

Woods, elected to a third full term last month to a district covering Fallston and portions of Joppa and Abingdon, was named council vice president by unanimous vote. The council also voted unanimously to appoint Johnson, Vincenti and Woods to the body’s Personnel Committee, with Shrodes as an alternate on the panel.

Wagner and the council president were appointed to the county’s Board of Estimates, and Warren Hamilton was reappointed as the council’s citizen representative. Wagner will be the alternate. Vincenti and Wagner were also appointed to the county’s Audit Advisory Board.

The council did not take action on Harford County Executive Barry Glassman’s appointments for various department directors and deputy directors. Vincenti said the vote will be held at a later meeting. All cabinet members are seeking to return from the previous term, said Billy Boniface, Glassman’s director of administration.

Council members also used the meeting Tuesday to thank voters for support and pledged to serve constituents and the county.

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“Rest assured that each and every day that I come to work I’m going to work hard for the people of District A and Harford County,” Johnson, who represents Edgewood and Joppa, said.

Giangiordano, whose district covers Bel Air and parts of Forest Hill, succeeds former Councilman James “Cap’n Jim” McMahan, who represented District C for 12 years.

Giangiordano recalled advice he received from McMahan to make sure his decisions are “in the best interest of the people,” and added, “Cap’n Jim brought a passion, enthusiasm, pride, dignity to this office. Hopefully, I can do the same.”

Shrodes, who has represented northern Harford since 2006, said he looks forward to working with his colleagues over the next four years.

Wagner, who represents Aberdeen, greater Bel Air and Churchville, also expressed hope for the next four years, and complimented Vincenti on his inaugural speech. He said the address “outlined what I think this council will stand for and move forward on.”

Beulah was re-elected to a second term serving Havre de Grace, parts of Abingdon plus Aberdeen Proving Ground, Belcamp, Perryman and Riverside, and said he hoped to build on the experience of his first term.

“I’m looking forward to really hitting the ground running and getting some things done that will better the quality of life in Harford County for our citizens, and help them to prosper and raise a family and keep [Harford] as safe and as charming as it is,” he said.

Looking ahead was an overall theme of the session — a tone reinforced by Rev. Jim Testerman, pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air. As he delivered the opening prayer, he called upon God to “help these gentlemen to be fiscally responsible and good stewards of all that you have given to us.”

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