Method for filling City Council vacancies is flawed

It is time Baltimore City improved the antiquated, prejudicial, contradictory and undemocratic way it fills City Council vacancies..

One section of the city's charter states: "The election of members shall be held by council districts, and no person is entitled to vote for any member of the City Council other than member for the district in which the voter is registered." However, 100 percent of those replacing a member of the City Council do not live in the district as indicated by another section of the charter, which states: "After public notice, the City Council, by a majority vote of its remaining members, shall elect a person … to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the former incumbent." One district-connected group elects and another non-district group replaces. Let's agree to improve this process before this happens again — and it will.

On the Maryland state level, elected county/city representatives are replaced by elected central committee members.

I am writing this before the City Council makes a selection that they have promised will be, as Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young stated, "a decision based on each candidate's merits." Years ago there was a slightly better process when we had three representatives for each district. Councilmanic courtesy was expected, though not mandated, such that the remaining two council people would suggest to the council who would replace their departed colleague. Now that we only have one council person for each district, we need to adjust the charter to this fact.

This process gives the appointed council person an advantage for the next election, an advantage given to her or him by people who do not live in the district.

In the time it took to post a vacancy notice, a similar notice could be posted to allow the district to vote on the replacement. Let's have residents of the district replace their council person.

Marvin L. Cheatham Sr., Baltimore City

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
64°