Ben Brown's absence Carroll County: Commissioner's surgery will give board summer pause, but not for long.

July 16, 1996

COMMISSIONER W. Benjamin Brown's planned heart-bypass surgery today may result in a pause in the decision-making of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, but we expect his absence from county government will be a short one.

So does Mr. Brown, as he installs electronic communications equipment at home to ease his re-entry during recuperation. He pledges to resume active involvement with civic affairs long before the end of a three-month recovery period urged by his physicians.

On a three-member board, important issues are often decided ** by a single vote. That's certainly been true with the current commissioners. Mr. Brown's vote, if not his full participation in all board matters, will be needed.

The alignments on split votes of this board are not always consistent, however. Indeed, many see Richard T. Yates as the swing vote on key issues, siding with Donald I. Dell on tight budget and fiscal matters while joining Mr. Brown on tough regulation of growth.

But this is a shifting coalition, which is not always predictable. That was apparent recently when the county planning staff requested outside consultant help to find ways to pay for needed public facilities. Messrs. Brown and Dell split over the extra cost of the proposal, while Mr. Yates was torn between the desire to restrain spending and the wish to effectively manage future growth.

As much as for his vote on county issues, Mr. Brown is noted for his outspoken views on controversial issues. And he is not shy about floating new ideas rather than simply reacting to the usual agenda items. His experience as mayor of Westminster has encouraged him to raise proposals in an executive manner, a Lone Ranger approach that can be refreshing but is sometimes self-defeating.

We can foresee conflicts and delay on some issues, especially growth control questions, during Mr. Brown's absence. But Commissioners Dell and Yates have agreed to defer votes on dTC substantial proposals until his return, and to consult him by phone when he is able.

Knowing his full-time commitment to government, Mr. Brown's voice won't be stilled for long. We wish him a speedy and successful recovery, with a prudent respect for medical advice in recuperation.

Pub Date: 7/16/96

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