WESTMINSTER — The Carroll County Charter Board last night approved, by a 6-3 vote,a committee's recommendation to have an appointed county manager.
The panel's executive committee submitted the recommendation to the nine-member board for action at the panel's weekly meeting at the Agricultural Center. Members Richard Yates, Joseph Getty and Lanny Harchenhorn -- all newly elected members -- voted against the recommendation.
In its two-page recommendation, the committee's majority said an appointed manager would be less expensive than an elected executive. An appointed manager would also have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, the committee said.
"The minority member objects to this since it is his belief that it takes the government farther from the voters of this county and allows appointments by political cronies," Yates said.
"The minority member believes in the intelligence of the Carroll County voter to choose his or her own leader by the elective process."
The committee's recommendation received mixed reaction from the panel.
Charles O. Fisher Sr. and Neal W. Powell favored the recommendation, agreeing that an appointed manager would be less costly.
Powell said an elected executive often requires an administrator, attorney and other duplicate staff, which costs taxpayersmore.
Fisher said Carroll County doesn't want more expensive government.
"We have to keep our government costs low," he said.
There also was concern that an elected county executive would accumulate too much power.
But Louis Gregory Pecoraro said that no matter who serves in an executive role, that person accumulates power becausehe or she is the day-in, day-out manager. The legislative body depends on that person for information, he said.
Pease outlined the duties of the appointed manager, whose title would be"county administrator."
They included preparing and submitting the budget and the annual report to the council; providing information as requested to the council; recommending measures for legislative action to the council;investing excess funds; and running the administrative branch.
Other recommendations included having the administrator report directlyto the council; requiring the appointed manager to live in the county; and providing an appointed manager with a written statement of reasons and a prompt hearing if requested in the case of removal from office.
Choosing the form of an executive in a proposed charter, to be presented to the voters in the November general election, is the board's first major step toward writing a draft.