SYKESVILLE — Authority and semantics made for a lively discussion of who can calla special meeting at Monday night's charter revision workshop.
"One thing that happened the year before last was a special meeting wascalled, but not by the clerk-treasurer as the charter calls for. Andnot all council members were notified," Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. said.
The charter said that special meetings may be requested by the mayor or a majority of the six council members and called by the clerk-treasurer.
"I should be able to call a meeting in an emergency in the event the mayor is out of town," Town Manager James L. Schumachersaid.
"Anyone should be able to call a meeting," he added, "but all of the council should be notified and a majority should be present."
Helt also questioned what constituted proper notification, saying that is an issue the Institute for Governmental Service at the University of Maryland could determine.
The council agreed that special meetings could be called by the mayor, town manager or clerk-treasurer.
Despite a vote Feb. 10 to let IGS write its new charter, theTown Council must give the institute direction on the way it wants the municipal government to work.
At the first workshop last month,the council decided to make the mayor a part of the council by giving the executive head a vote.
Currently, Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. cannot vote on ordinances or resolutions, although he has veto power. Under the new system, he would give up the veto.
With the mayor becoming part of the council, it also was decided that he would be council chairman, and the president would be the presiding officer in his absence.
The charter currently calls for vacancies on the council to be filled by appointment, but with no time limit on when appointments must be made.
"There should be a time limit on this, because theoretically (an appointee) could fill a full term," Helt said.
Councilman Jonathan Herman suggested that appointments be made within 60 days, and the council agreed.
In a discussion on ordinance referendums, Council President Kenneth W. Clark said residents should be able to bring a law to referendum, even if it is something not yet passed by ordinance.
"I don't think the state constitution allows forthe people to bring something to referendum without the Town Councildoing it first," Schumacher said.
Helt instructed Schumacher to check into the issue before a decision is made.
The powers and duties of the mayor were discussed, with council members agreeing that the chain of command among officials needed clarification.