Riley forfeits seat by taking 2nd office Mayor declares council post vacant

September 23, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Manchester Mayor Earl A.J. "Tim" Warehime Jr. last night declared the Town Council seat held by John A. Riley vacant.

"I will open the nominations at the next meeting for the vacancy," Mr. Warehime said at last night's Town Council meeting.

Mr. Riley did not attend last night's meeting and could not be reached for comment.

On Sept. 15, the state attorney general's office issued a nonbinding advisory opinion that Mr. Riley is in violation of Article 35 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights by simultaneously holding the positions of town manager in Hampstead and councilman in Manchester. Both positions are paid public offices.

The mayor said last night that attorney Richard S. McKernon had advised him that when Mr. Riley accepted the second paid public office in Hampstead, he vacated the first one he held in Manchester.

"Therefore, by accepting reappointment to the office of Hampstead Town Manager in July of 1992, Mr. Riley vacated his office of councilmember on the Manchester Town Council to which he was elected in May of 1991," Mr. McKernon wrote to Mr. Warehime.

"As Mayor of the Town of Manchester and President of the Town Council, you have the authority to announce a vacancy on the Town Council for Mr. Riley's unexpired term."

Mayor Warehime said he had been advised that decisions made by the council while Mr. Riley was acting in good faith as a council member would stand.

He said after the meeting that he sought the advice of Mr. McKernon because he has extensive experience in municipal affairs.

Mr. Warehime added that the town's regular attorney, Charles O. Fisher Jr., is the son of Charles O. Fisher Sr., the attorney representing the town of Hampstead, and the mayor decided to seek an independent legal opinion.

"I really thought that we were going to wait until John resigned," said Councilwoman Kathryn L. Riley, Mr. Riley's sister-in-law, after the meeting.

But she said she has no plans to fight the mayor's move.

Councilman Robert Kolodziejski said, "I'm not necessarily glad that he had to give up the position, but I'm glad it's resolved."

Councilman Douglas Myers declined to comment on the mayor's action.

"If that's the attorney general's decision, that's the attorney general's decision," said Councilwoman Charlotte Collett, who is recuperating from surgery and did not attend last night's meeting.

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