Change Term Limitation

Readers write

November 13, 1991

From: James M. Holway

Ellicott City

The proposed Howard County petition and referendum to limit Howard County Council terms to three terms and containing a grandfather clause does not serve a useful purpose and should be rejected unless modified.

First of all, the problem is today, and the effective dateshould not be deferred until possibly your grandchildren are of age to run. In other words, if we are fulfilling a current public need, then there should not be a grandfather clause protecting the incumbents.

I believe we can get closer to the basic need and to a positionmore in the public interest.

The requirement should be that no person can serve more than two consecutive terms in any given time period. In other words, if the candidate desires to serve longer, then the candidate must take a rest and reflect on what is going on in the real world. I believe that if we had thought of this language at the time we were writing the Howard County Charter, we would have includedthis specific language in the original draft of the charter.

Thisleaves one problem that has consistently been present in every election.

We are having unqualified people running; I mean unqualified in the sense that the candidates have not done even the minimum preparation for serving in an elected capacity. The majority of the candidates have not even studied the county charter, to say nothing about taking the time to understand how the county government works and functions. We need some solution to the problem.


From: Virginia M. Thomas

Delegate, District 13A

I wouldlike to add my comments to the Nov. 6 County Comments feature of theHoward County Sun.

Since the question ("Do you approve of County Executive Charles Ecker's using farmland preservation fund money to offset the budget deficit?") you posed raised more questions than answers from those interviewed, I believe that your readers need to be more fully informed about the intent of my legislation, which would allow the county executive to transfer up to 50 percent of the funds in the Agricultural Land Preservation Program to general county funds.

We all know that the current fiscal problems on both the state and county level necessitate cuts in government spending as we look for new sources of revenue. While recognizing the need to reduce spending,I also want to ensure that essential health, safety, welfare and educational services are not impaired.

This bill would make availableto the county executive the option of using additional revenues fromsurplus funds. As the agricultural land preservation program is a renewable fund, expected to increase to $17 million this year, I see nonegative impact on the program.

Even the chief of the agricultural preservation agency, in a recent debate on this issue, could not say that the program would actually be hindered by this bill.

Remember, this bill, set to expire in 18 months, is a temporary measure that would allow the county executive use of these funds only for the FY(fiscal year) '92 and FY '93 budget.

I do not intend that this bill be a substitute for reducing government spending. However, it would make available a source of currently unexpended revenue, especiallyif the county is faced with a crisis during these difficult fiscal times.

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