ELDERSBURG -- In what is probably becoming an all-too-familiar refrain to the members of the Carroll Charter Board, residents here last night said they wanted an expanded county council and questioned the wisdom of having an appointed administrator.
At the final public hearing on the first draft of a proposed county charter, about a dozen of the 70 people packed into an Eldersburg Library meeting room gave the board suggestions for the proposed charter.
The board has tentatively proposed a five-member council, elected by districts of about 24,000 residents. The council would then appoint a professional manager to run the day-to-day affairs of government.
As in previous meetings, some residents spoke out urging term limitations, other raised concerns of a council's ability to control costs, and at least one person called the charter form of government a product of machine politics that "undermines the Constitution."
A charter would replace the current three-commissioner form of government. But, as is now the case, the elected council would continue to perform both executive and legislative functions of government.
"I would like to see a better government than we now have," said Arthur B. Leggo, of Westminster. "The charter itself should be very attractive to the voters, it should be attractive to the people who are going to be represented."
Mr. Leggo told the board there should be a seven-member council, with two of the members elected from the county at large. He also urged the board to somehow make the Board of Education more accountable to the county government.
He stressed that a change in the current form of government is needed, but perhaps bringing the charter to a vote this November is too soon to accomplish the change.
"If this is brought to a vote on Nov. 3, it's dead on arrival," he said.
Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy told the board he finds the appointed administrator contradictory.
"It seems incongruous to tell the people it's OK for them to elect a council but not OK to elect an administrator."
At two previous hearings, the board heard similar comments. Last night, however, was the first time several people voiced their concerns over the school board's finances.
"Would charter do anything about the money spent by the schools?" asked Eldersburg resident Bob Nichols. "If not, then why do we need a charter?"
The Carroll Charter Board will take all the comments made during the three public hearings and incorporate some of them into a revised first draft.