WESTMINSTER — The Carroll County Charter Board approved, by a 6-2 vote, a recommendation that the commissioners hire a consultant for "technical expertise and support services" in drafting a charter.
The board, charged with writing a charter for Carroll residents to vote on, wants assistance from the University of Maryland's Institute of Governmental Service. The cost is about $4,000.
The board was notified last week that the commissioners were not in favor of hiring a consultant and had full confidence a draft wouldbe done by November.
But some charter board members said IGS, as the service is known, would better help the panel meet the November deadline.
Commissioners have emphasized they want the proposed charter on the November ballot because voters tend to turn out at the polls in larger numbers for a presidential election.
Two charter board members, Joseph Getty and Richard Yates, voted against the recommendation. Board co-chairman Walter Bay abstained.
Getty said he had confidence the nine-member board could draft a charter by November.
Neal W. Powell said the consultant would prove beneficial not only in helping with technical matters but in the "gargantuan" task of compiling a charter index.
"IGS can do that," he said.
Some members warned that meeting the November deadline may be difficult without the consultant's assistance. Hiring a consultant would be money better spent than holding a special election on the charter, members said.The cost of a special election was estimated at about $50,000.
The institute has assisted every Maryland county that has drafted a charter since the mid-1960s, and provided free help to the Carroll groupwith its initial efforts to gather information.
In other matters,the board also voted to ask the county to continue to have one of its attorneys present at the weekly meetings for legal advice and otherassistance. The board also wants help in recording meetings.
The state Board of Education has denied an appeal from the principal of Carroll's vo-tech school to bring his salary in line with the heads of the county's five high schools.
Robert Gebhart, Carroll County Career and Technology Center principal, pleaded his case before the 11-member state board in December after both the Carroll school board and an administrative law judge denied his request.
Gebhart, who announced his retirement this month, said he would not appeal the decision. He said he wasn't interested in the money, but in the principle.
Although the vo-tech school is smaller than any of the county's high schools, Gebhart maintained that the duties and responsibilities were very similar.
The principals of the county's high schools are paid according to the district's 16-step scale for administrators and supervisors. Their wages are partly based on the school's staff size.
Gebhart, who has served as vo-tech principal since1977, receives an annual salary of $64,119, which includes compensation for longevity. Base salary for the vo-tech principal is between $43,589 and $58,740. Other base salaries for high school principals range from $45,591 to $62,748 yearly.
NO PAY-PER-VIEW OLYMPICS
Citing complications with applying for access channels, Prestige Cable TV Inc.'s general manager Bill Bethune said the firm won't be offering pay-per-view Olympics coverage this summer.
The decision comes after the county's cable television committee reluctantly agreed to allowthe company to borrow unused community access channels.
Bethune says arrangements with NBC for summer Olympics coverage must be made this week, but the channel-borrowing application process is too complicated to be completed by then.
Regulations require Prestige pay anapplication fee and indicate the length of time the channels will beborrowed, the cost to the operator for programming, the proposed cost to the subscriber, market studies showing demand, a statement releasing the county and municipalities from liability and information used to decide to provide this particular service.
County Attorney Charles W. "Chuck" Thompson Jr. has said the committee is requesting the information to help consumers decide if they want to take the additional services.
County officials have tapped members of the Recycling Committee to help educate the public about the county's plans to begin curbside recycling July 1.
With a county recycling plan taking shape, committee members were uncertain about their future role.
But members have been asked to help distribute cards containing information about curbside recycling to residents throughout Carroll.
Members also will be tapped to speak before community organizations about curbside recycling.
Under the commissioners' recently approved program, recycling will be mandatory for all households, businesses and any activities generating recyclable waste.
HEALTH BUDGET IS AIRED