Charter Panel Backs Combined Elections

Council Would Be Elected At Large And By District

April 01, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — A board writing a county charter last night endorsed a council that would be made up of members elected both at large and by district.

The Carroll County Charter Review Commission, meeting at the Ag Center, declined to choose the number of members to be on the council. The nine-member board planned to review election figures at next week'smeeting before making that decision.

A legislative subcommittee last week presented the nine-member board with two options in the makeup of a council. They were:

* A council comprised of seven members, two elected at large and the other five elected from separate districts.

* A five-member council, each member elected at large.

However, after lengthy discussion, the whole board proposed another option -- a council comprised solely of members elected by district -- and then took a poll.

Six members endorsed a combination of members elected by district and at large, two supported at-large elections and the ninth backed district-only elections.

Joseph Getty said he liked council districts but felt theyworked better when an elected executive provided a balance of power.The board has voted to have an appointed county executive.

Districts, he said, created "pork barrel" and "not in my own backyard" politics.

L. Gregory Pecoraro said having at-large council members was"valuable" because it provided disgruntled district voters with another representative.

The model that "best serves the people of Carroll County is to work out a combination," he said.

Lanny Harchenhorn, concerned about keeping campaign costs low, had proposed a five-member council, comprised of three representatives elected by districts and two at large.

Walter C. Bay said he had a sense that Carrollvoters preferred to have council members elected by districts.

"Yet I have concerns," he said.

Besides the makeup of the council, the board wrestled with requirements to be on the council. Some members endorsed an age requirement of 25 years. Other supported requiring only that members be registered voters.

There was less or no debate on other committee recommendations:

* Four-year terms.

* An initial annual salary of $5,000.

* Vacancies to be filled by the council or the governor, depending on the number of vacancies, from recommended lists from party central committees.

* A president and vice president elected by the panel each year.

Before discussing thecouncil, Charles O. Fisher criticized both Getty and Richard Yates for working on their own interests behind the board's back.

Yates had met with the commissioners to oppose money for the board to hire aconsultant. Getty had talked to a reporter about perceptions about the three new members trying to "scuttle" the process.

"I think he has an agenda that is opposed to this committee," Fisher said of Yates.

The board is working against a November deadline in order to get a proposed charter on the general election ballot.

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