County Councilmen David G. Boschert and Carl G. "Dutch" Holland are expected to become the new leaders of Anne Arundel's legislative branch tonight.
Though Boschert, D-Crownsville, said last week that the council chairmanship "is a low priority on my list," other council members say he has virtually locked up the five votes he needs to succeed chairwoman Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River.
Other council members also say Boschert is pushing Holland, a Republican from Pasadena just finishing his first year on the council, as vice chairman -- a move that has "disgusted" veteran Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, who says Boschert had promised to back her as vice chairman in exchange for her support.
"I'm not voting for him," said Lamb, D-Annapolis. "Apparently he's gone back on his word, and I can't deal with that at all."
Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Severn, said he'd support Boschert, but has problems with Holland as vice chairman. Middlebrooks said his colleague needs "more grooming" for a leadership position.
"Dutch, as a newcomer -- I don't think he's quite ready for vice chairman," Middlebrooks said. "The comments I have been getting are that Dutch is a little too aggressive for some people's tastes."
Middlebrooks, also finishing his first year on the council, wants Lamb as vice chairman. "Besides, as a Democratic-controlled council, I think it's important that a Democrat control the chairmanship and vice chairmanship," he said.
The council chooses its chairman and vice chairman annually during its first December meeting.Despite the relative insignificance of the posts themselves -- the chairman presides over meetings and takes the lead in communicating with the county executive -- council members traditionally have jockeyed intensely for them.
That appears to be especially true this year, since Clagett, who has been chairman the last eight years, has not been actively seeking reappointment. She recently reconsidered her decision to step down after Councilwoman Diane R. Evans, R-Arnold, called for her departure, but said she probably won't try to keep her post if Boschert has it sewn up.
Boschert, the current vice chairman,has wanted to be chairman ever since he became a councilman, his colleagues say, and began assembling his supporters some time ago.
Lamb said she was backing Boschert until about two weeks ago, when she said he withdrew his support for her as vice chairman and threw it behind Holland instead.
She and other council members tie the switchto Boschert's council redistricting bill, which, they say, he desperately wants passed. His bill would keep politically active Crofton, home of at least one potential council contender, out of his district.
Boschert has four of the five votes he needs -- his own, Holland's, Evans' and Councilman George Bachman's -- and was expecting Lamb, Clagett or Middlebrooks to provide a fifth, they say. But so far noneof the three has agreed to vote for Boschert's bill, and he has delayed final action on the legislation.
"Dave is furious," said Lamb.
Boschert strongly denied that he is backing Holland instead of Lamb because says she hasn't voted for the redistricting bill.
He says he doesn't care if Crofton's in his district. He says he never made a commitment to Lamb.
"We talked about it. But I have not made acommitment on the vice chairman. Anything you hear is strictly speculation and unwarranted.
"I guess people just don't believe me."