Charter board delays vote on head of government

July 22, 1992|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- The Carroll Charter Board postponed a decision last night on whether county government should have an appointed administrator or an elected executive at its helm because three members were absent.

The nine-member board decided to discuss and vote on the issue, considered perhaps the most crucial aspect of the charter, at next Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. meeting at the Agriculture Center.

The board's first major decision in drafting the charter was to have an administrator, appointed by a county council, oversee the daily operation of government. The board is reconsidering the decision after having three public hearings on its first draft.

An administrator, who would serve at the pleasure of the council, would supervise county agencies and would have no independent policy-making authority. An elected executive could set policy and introduce legislation.

An informal survey conducted by the Committee for Charter Government showed that 63 respondents preferred an administrator responsible to the council, while 19 favored an administrator responsible to an elected executive.

The committee, the campaign arm of the charter movement, sent questionnaires to about 137 county residents who attended the recent hearings; 86 have responded so far. The results were revealed last night.

"I think this shows we're on track," said board member Barbara Pease, who made a motion to maintain the appointed administrator in the charter. The motion was postponed.

Other results of the survey show that 43 respondents favored a seven-member council elected by district, while 42 favored a five-member council. Fifty-five preferred a council elected strictly district, while 28 favored a combination of district representatives and at-large members.

The board originally decided on a five-member council elected strictly by districts with populations of about 24,674, but now is evaluating dividing the county into seven districts of about 17,624.

The respondents split, 42-42, on whether term limits should be imposed on council members. Sixty-two said a $7,500 annual salary for council members is about right, while 17 said it is too low.

At a special session Saturday, the board discussed possibly including provisions in the charter for "controlling excessive taxation and/or spending" that would not be "overly restrictive so as to cripple prudent daily government operations."

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