Voters May Set Term Limit

County Council Issue On November Ballot

January 23, 1992|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

Anne Arundel voters will decide this fall whether County Council members will move either up or out after three four-year terms.

Despite their differing opinions on term limits, the seven council membersunanimously supported a resolution to let the electorate vote in theNovember general election on a charter amendment imposing a three-term council limit.

"I feel three terms is enough for any member in this august body," said Council Chairman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, who co-sponsored the resolution with Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis.

Although the council-appointed Decennial Charter Revision Commission has recommended against term limits, Boschert argued that the change is needed to stem voter apathy and restore public confidence in elected leaders.

"Elected officials should never have a career in any one elected office. If you have the opportunity to aspire to other elected office, so be it," said Boschert, who has said that he seeks a higher office. The chairman was appointed in 1984 to replace the late Wallace "Chunky" Childs and was elected in 1986 and 1990.

Lamb, serving her third elected term, said she believes in term limits as a way of bringing new blood into politics.

"I've been concerned for along time that there's a tendency among people who have not run for office to think the incumbents are there forever. I don't think we should be here forever," she said.

Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Severn, said he preferred a two-term limit.

Council members Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, R-Pasadena, and Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River, voiced confidence in the voters' willingness to kick unsatisfactoryofficials out of office, no matter how long they've served.

Holland defeated four-term incumbent Edward C. "Buddy' Ahern last fall, while Clagett was re-elected to her fifth term. "The voter is very savvy, and anyone underestimating him is very wrong," Clagett said.

Even those who disagreed with a three-term limit, however, agreed to let the voters decide. The electorate must approve all changes to the charter. If adopted, the limit would go into effect Jan. 1, 1994. It would not be retroactive, and current council members could run in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

In other action, the council approved the transfer of $260,000 from the Agricultural Easement Acquisition fund to paythe first installment on property to be added to the Jug Bay WetlandSanctuary near Wayson's Corner.

Park officials intend to purchase140 acres of shoreline, woods and meadow southeast of the sanctuary for $900,000.

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