Board Vows No Friction On Charter

March 08, 1992|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

The newly configured charter board resumes its work this week with new dynamics among its members, who say they share the desire to finish the proposed charter in time to be considered by voters in the November election.

Though Tuesday's election shifted the political majority on the nonpartisan board from Democrat to Republican, members from both parties say they don't think that will be a factor.

Instead, what appears changed is the sentiment toward a charter that the three new members bring to the board.

"It's not going to be so much Democrats vs. Republicans, but probably more like progressives vs. the status quo," said co-chairman Jon Buck, a Republican and one of the nine original members appointed last fall by the county commissioners.

The new members elected Tuesday are Republicans Joseph M. Getty, V. Lanny Harchenhorn, and Richard T. Yates. They replace Damian L. Halstad, a Democrat, and Republicans Charles W. Cull and C.William Knill.

Of the formers members, Cull had said he favors a move to charter government, Halstad said he would support a charter with adequate limitations on government's power, and Knill said he wasundecided though not skeptical of charter.

As a group, the new members bring to the board a conservative, more wary view of charter government.

Yates said his primary concern is the cost of the government that would result from a new home-rule government.

"I'm conservative, and I don't want to spend too much money on it," the 66-year-old Sykesville resident said. "If it costs more, I'll be against it."

Harchenhorn, a former state delegate, said he'll keep "an open mind" about charter. But some ideas he favors include a three-member council, with one person serving as president. Previous discussions bythe board centered on a council with seven to nine members.

Also,Harchenhorn said property tax increases should be limited to near the constant yield, and the creation of new government departments should require a unanimous vote.

Getty has been mostly noncommittal about his thoughts on charter, and says he thinks too much has been made about who writes the charter.

"I think that the voters in November will see a similar charter, no matter who writes it," Getty said.

The board is planning to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Westminsterbranch of the Carroll County Public Library. Buck said the first order of business for the board will be to determine whether he and Walter Bay, a Democrat, should remain as co-chairs.

After that, "I don't see why we can't start putting pen to paper," he said.

The new members say working with the remaining commissioner-appointed memberswon't pose a problem.

"I don't have any animosity toward any of the members, and I can work with any of them," Harchenhorn said. "I'm not going to go to this much work to play saboteur. I would never do that."

Said Yates, "There won't be any friction on my side."

Buck said he doesn't foresee problems with the chemistry of the new board.

"I don't think there's anything to be gained by being obstructionist," the Sykesville resident said.

However, if the charter is to be completed by November, the new members will have to step up their efforts, Buck and other remaining members said. The board has met several times since late last year, gathering information and citizeninput.

"They (new members) should get on board and work to get their homework done," Buck said.

Getty said he sees no reason why the charter can't be ready by the general election.

"We're going to hold people to their commitment to have it on the November ballot," he said.

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