Boschert Elected Council Chairman, Holland Vice Chair

December 04, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

One year ago, Councilman Carl "Dutch" Holland suggested that fellow Councilman David Boschert wanted to become vice chairman of the County Council because he was unemployed.

Monday night, Holland voted for Boschert, who became chairman, replacing Councilwoman Virginia Clagett, D-West River. In exchange for his support of Boschert, Holland became vice chairman, a job he had sought last year.

The alliance between Boschert, a Crownsville Democrat, and Holland, a Republican from Pasadena, angered Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, the only council member to oppose Boschert. Lamb said Boschert had promised to support her for vice chairman if she voted for him.

"I felt he had a commitment to me he had broken, but he also lied about it in the newspaper," Lamb said. "I hope he can someday learn something about leadership. He does everything based on its PR potential."

Boschert, however, has said he talked with Lamb about the vice chairmanship, but never made a commitment to her.

The councilchooses 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 traditionallyhave jockeyed intensely for them.

The politicking was especially intense this year because Clagett, who has been chairman the last eight years, did not actively seek reappointment. Boschert denied actively seeking the chairmanship, but council members said he lobbied heavily behind the scenes for the position.

Council members said Boschert supported Holland over Lamb because Lamb has refused to support his redistricting bill, which would keep politically powerful Crofton out of his district. Holland is one of three co-sponsors of Boschert's bill, but the plan needs one more vote to pass.

Boschert denied any link between the vice chairmanship and redistricting. He said he would be happy to have Crofton in his district, but the residents of Crofton have asked to remain in South County.

Some council membershad expressed concern that Holland, just finishing his first year onthe council, was too aggressive to become vice chairman and needed more experience. Holland acknowledged those concerns, saying he got off to "a bumpy start" onthe council.

Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Severn, was one of the council members who expressed concern about Holland's readiness, but he voted for him anyway. "Clearly he had the votes, and I think a united council is important," Middlebrooks said.

When Clagett passed the gavel to Boschert after the vote, she promised to be more aggressive in her new seat on the far end of the council, where members who have served longest traditionally sit.

"I'll sit in the catbird seat and cause a little more rumpus," Clagett said. She said she stepped down as chairwoman to spend more time with her family.

Boschert complimented Clagett on her eight years aschairwoman and gave her a dozen roses.

"I hope I can do even halfof what you've done," Boschert said. "You're a credit to this county."

In other action last night, the County Council:

* Left intact amendments to a bill regulating commercial bingo, despite warnings from the task force that drafted the bill that the changes might encourage organized crime to infiltrate county bingo parlors.

The changes, which would increase prize winnings, were approved last month. Afinal vote on the bill is set for Dec. 16.

* Voted to maintain the county's 10 percent cap on property tax assessment increases, a move that will provide some tax relief to about 43,000 homeowners next year.

The county could have set the cap at a lower rate, but BudgetOfficer Steve Welkos said County Executive Robert R. Neall would prefer to give property tax relief based on personal income. The tax assessment cap favors homeowners whose property values rise the greatest, such as waterfront property owners.

Welkos said Neall may propose a tax relief program based on household income when he introduces his fiscal 1993 budget in May.

"The county executive is committed to meaningful tax relief, but he wants to do it in a socially responsible way," Welkos said.

* Voted to release $15.7 million in construction funds for North County High School, which would open in September 1993.

* Approved a 90-day moratorium on a new law allowing non-boating, recreational piers. Waterfront associations protested the law, proposed by Councilwoman Diane Evans, R-Arnold, saying it would open county waterways to scores of new piers. Evans said the groups misunderstood the law.

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