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New Harford councilman (and the voters) owed an apology | READER COMMENTARY

Members of the Harford County Council (except for Jacob Bennett) take their oath of office administered by Clerk of the Court Michelle Karceski, left, during the county's inauguration ceremonies Monday, December 5, 2022 at the APG Federal Credit Union Arena in Bel Air. (Matt Button/The Aegis).

The incoming members of the Harford County Council and County Executive Bob Cassilly certainly could not have chosen a more outrageous way to initiate their terms in office than by excluding newly — and duly — elected Councilman Jacob Bennett from the public swearing-in ceremony because of his continued employment as a teacher in Harford County Public Schools (”Democrat Jacob Bennett excluded from Harford County Council inauguration,” Dec. 5).

Choosing instead to relegate Councilman Bennett to a private ceremony later in the afternoon denied him and his constituents the opportunity to witness the legitimate and peaceful transfer of power — the most crucial cornerstone of our political process. Regardless of whatever excuses Council President Patrick Vincenti and County Executive Cassilly might cook up to justify their poor choices (and it bears pointing out that Councilman Richard Slutzky was publicly sworn in 2002, while still under the employment of the school board), the bottom line is that their actions show disrespect and contempt to the voters of District F.

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It may seem a mere petty, vindictive and venal gesture, but why don’t we call it what it is — an attempt to delegitimize a democratically elected official and diminish the influence of the voters who elected him. Cassilly, Vincenti and anyone else involved in this decision owe Bennett and the voters of his district an apology.

— Henry S. Gibbons, Edgewood

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