WESTMINSTER — With several aspects of a new government yet to be decided, the Carroll County Charter Review Commission last night pushed back and scaled down public hearings on a proposed draft until mid-May.
The nine-member board expected to be finished with a first draft of a chartersome time this month.
But with the process taking longer than expected, the board decided to schedule three public hearings instead of five. The hearings will begin in mid-May, rather than earlier in the month.
Jon Buck, co-chairman of the commission, said three hearings would be sufficient. By having them in mid-May, he added, the board would have more timeto continue working on a draft.
"We're already into April and have several articles to draft," Buck said.
Added Walter Bay, also a commission co-chairman: "I'm inclined to agree. We don't need five public hearings."
Although the board has considered some aspects of the executive and legislative branches of a new government, it has yet to begin the task of reviewing other matters, such as personnel, general provisions and finance.
Subcommittees are expected to give reports on those areas in the next few weeks. The board also is awaiting a subcommittee's recommendation on the number of members who will serve on a council. That subcommittee was not prepared to make a recommendation last night.
The board last week decided to have a council consist of members who are elected both by districts and at large.Three weeks ago, the board endorsed an appointed county executive.
Hearings are being scheduled by the county attorney's office. They are likely to take place in Westminster, North Carroll and South Carroll. After the hearings, the board will discuss public comments and make revisions. A draft is expected to be submitted to the commissioners in July.
Last night, the board began the less glamorous and less political task of reading a draft on the executive article page by page and addressing concerns of the seven members present. L. GregoryPecoraro and V. Lanny Harchenhorn were absent.
Neal W. Powell found conflicts in the first two sections of the draft, which outlined the composition of the executive branch and general executive powers.
Powell said the wording implied that county department heads shared in executive powers.
"I know what it means, but a lay person maymake that interpretation," he said. "I think it's misleading."
The board agreed to transpose those sections to make the meaning clearer.
The board is working to have the proposed charter on the general election ballot in November.
A charter, if approved, would serveas a constitution for Carroll and a change in its current commissioner form of government.