Council bids adieu to Kuecker, Glisan, Waller

April 26, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Three members of the Columbia Council -- including its chairwoman for the last three years -- attended their final council meeting last night as elected officials.

Next week, the 10-member council convenes with three new members who each campaigned on the promise to be more skeptical of the Columbia Association.

During last night's special meeting, chairwoman Karen Kuecker, who represented Owen Brown Village for six years, moved

that the victor in the village's election last week, Owen Brown Village Chair Wanda Hurt, officially be appointed as her successor, effective May 1.

The other new members will be longtime community activist Alex Hekimian, who will replace Gary Glisan as the Oakland Mills representative, and Joseph Merke, who will succeed Town Center representative Suzanne S. Waller.

"I really want to thank my colleagues," Ms. Waller said as the newly elected members looked on from the audience. "It's been a privilege" to serve on the council.

The three departing council members received gifts and cards from their colleagues.

The remaining council members are either in the middle of their terms or were unopposed in the election.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve with the three of you," said David W. Berson, the council's vice chair, who represents River Hill village. "Columbia is a much better place."

Their departures could signal a change in how the council interacts with the Columbia Association.

While some critics have viewed the board as a rubber stamp for the association, the new members say they will ask more questions of the Columbia Association -- the giant homeowners' group that manages Columbia's recreational facilities and common land.

The council is the association's board of directors.

The trio won the right to sit on the council in last week's tight elections, which attracted only 20 percent or less of eligible voters in their respective villages.

Also last night, the council voted unanimously to extend the lease for Howard County General Hospital's Symphony of Lights -- the 47-night holiday light display at Symphony Woods in Town Center.

The new lease is for two years.

Because of bad weather and competition in the region, the show netted $40,000 this past winter, a sharp decline from the $100,000 its first year, said association President Padraic Kennedy.

The decline came although organizers invested an extra $51,000 into the event.

Pub Date: 4/26/96

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