Burch resigns seat on school board, noting business responsibilities

December 04, 1996|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County school board member Stephen A. Burch, who was reappointed to his seat in June and who has been absent from most board meetings recently, has resigned his post, he said by phone from Indianapolis last night.

Burch, senior vice president of Comcast Cablevision's Mid-Atlantic region, said that added business responsibilities have required him to travel regularly to Indiana since late summer and prevented him from attending board meetings.

The at-large board member, who began serving an unexpired term in August 1995, also missed some crucial meetings before his reappointment, including the interviews for superintendent candidates in February, board members said.

"I really enjoyed being on the school board, not so much that I enjoyed going to meetings, but I believe it's a vital responsibility as a citizen of a community," Burch said from his hotel room last night.

"But I'm just not able to devote the time that should be devoted to those duties. So I think it's appropriate that I resign and that a new member is selected who is able to devote the time needed to do the job."

Burch's reappointment to a five-year term in June was one of two selections by Gov. Parris N. Glendening that drew criticism from the community-based School Board Nominating Convention, which recommends candidates to the governor.

Glendening bypassed all six nominees recommended by the convention and chose Burch and sporting goods retailer H. J. Jack Barnhart for two open seats, prompting accusations that politics had overtaken the process.

Burch, who has contributed heavily to Glendening's campaign organization and whom a Glendening aide and board members have described as a friend of the governor, said last night that his experience, not his political affiliations, got him the appointment. He said he is "a friend of [Glendening's] views, but not close personal friends."

"I'm an intelligent human being, an educated person with a long-term commitment to community and charitable organizations," he said. "I have children in the school system, I have a law degree and a degree in English literature, I've been a businessman in Baltimore County for 10 years and I run a billion-dollar business. If I'm not qualified to be on the school board, who is?

"I'm just sorry I couldn't spend more time on it."

Pub Date: 12/04/96

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