Columbia Council votes to hire full-time administrative aide Position seen as vital to smooth operation

October 10, 1997|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Council voted last night to hire a full-time administrative assistant to handle some of its tasks.

The council has never had a full-time or part-time assistant.

In the discussion leading to the 6-4 vote, some council members said such a position was an unnecessary expense. Others argued that it was vital to make the council run smoother.

Council member Charles Rees of King's Contrivance, who voted against the proposal, said the salary, which will range from $30,000 to $45,000, was not warranted. He said the 10-member council is better served by the 185 full-time employees of the Columbia Association, the homeowners association that helps run Columbia.

"We're going to have one administrative person to serve 10 of us instead of a staff to answer our questions," Rees said.

Council member Cecilia Januszkiewicz of Long Reach welcomed the move, saying an aide would reduce council members' workload.

"This person will make us more efficient in how we operate," she said. "Having someone in this role will allow us, as council members, to make the best use of our time and be more effective for the residents."

The assistant's responsibilities will include monitoring local school and county issues and gathering information for council members from Columbia Association staff members. By a 5-4 vote, the council rejected making the position part-time.

The four members who voted against hiring a full-time administrative assistant were Hope Sachwald of Harper's Choice, Ken S. Puckett of Dorsey's Search, David Berson of River Hill and Rees.

In other matters, a dozen River Hill residents asked the council for help in getting county and state highway officials to install traffic noise barriers along Route 32.

The two-lane highway, a popular route for trucks and commuter traffic from Carroll County to Annapolis and Washington, is expected to be expanded to four lanes within a few years.

Many residents said that when they are in their yards, the noise from traffic is unbearable.

"I can't even talk to my kids outside without screaming across the yard," said Bill Verrmeer, 35, whose lot backs up to the road. "We knew the road was coming, but I don't think anybody realized how bad it would be."

The council also discussed a request for $200,000 to replace 10 tot lots in six villages.

Pub Date: 10/10/97

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