Council tables nomination of Hillman to zoning board

July 15, 1992

Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, a Democrat, stirred a small political tempest in Annapolis a few weeks ago when he nominated a former Republican mayor to serve on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.

And even though fellow Democrats protested Monday night, he stood by his choice of Richard L. Hillman to fill a vacant seat on the panel. The City Council voted to table the appointment, prolonging the wrangling for two weeks.

The four Democrats on the council complained that Mr. Hillman favored restrictive zoning measures and upset downtown business leaders while he was in office from 1981 to 1985. Aldermen Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, and Samuel Gilmer, D-Ward 3, also argued that the advisory board is not diverse enough and urged the mayor to appoint a black member.

"I believe he [Mr. Hillman] comes with an agenda already," added Alderwoman Ellen Moyer, D-Ward 8, in opposing the nomination.

The swing vote on the council, Alderman Dean Johnson, I-Ward 2, said too many of his constituents have raised objections "that deserve an answer." But the four Republicans cited Mr. Hillman's "impeccable" credentials and dismissed the controversy as "much ado about nothing."

If the Republicans side with the mayor, Mr. Hillman is likely to be appointed.

Mr. Hopkins said yesterday he agreed not to nominate Mr. Hillman if five of the eight council members opposed the choice. "I talked with every member of the council, one by one, and that ddid not occur," he said.

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