Carmen Amedori has resigned as chairwoman of the Carroll County Charter Board, saying that the panel, which has nearly finished its task, has become a "political tool."
Amedori called her action a protest. In a letter to Commissioner Donald I. Dell on Monday, she said that "unified efforts by the board are no longer the goal and the decisions made are purely self-serving to achieve political agendas."
After eight months of meetings and several public hearings, the nine-member board has written a document which could change county government from three commissioners to an executive and county council. Minor editing remains to be done before the draft goes to the commissioners.
Amedori's resignation is unlikely to affect the rest of the work, but "I hope it has a large effect on the citizens," she said.
Dell, who appointed Amedori to the board in April, said he was disappointed at the resignation and at the disputes that prompted it.
"Things have not gone well with the board," Dell said. "There is not a lot of teamwork."
Amedori accused several board members of "having political agendas and railroading this document through." In particular, she mentioned Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin, board vice-chairman; New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr., and Ann Ballard, who serves on the Carroll County Board of Education.
The board meeting last week was particularly contentious, with Amedori arguing long and loudly over Nevin's decision to ask for a review of the document from the county attorney and its finance officer.
Nevin said he was following a recommendation from the Institute for Governmental Service, which recently completed a review of the document. He did not consult the board before making the request to county officials, an action Amedori called "out of line."
"He is not the chairman, and he was out of turn and never apologized," she said.
Amedori set the tone for a meeting prolonged by bickering, Nevin said. She was outvoted in her proposal to have the county elections board make a final decision on the proposed voting districts.
"They are impatient, irresponsible people, who are thinking only about themselves and what they can do to get their names on the ballot and make $84,000," Amedori said in a reference to the proposed salary for county executive.
Gullo said his "political future or lack thereof" has nothing to do with the board's task.
Any decisions about running for office are "considerably farther down the road," Nevin said. "Our purpose is to write a good, sound charter and put it before the people. Hopefully, that process will continue with eight members."
Board members are entitled to their opinions and their votes, Gullo said.
"Carmen was unable to lead, did not want to follow and did the best thing by getting out of the way," Gullo said.
Board member Roger Wolfe said he agrees with Amedori's decision and understands her position. Wolfe said several panel members are rushing for the sake of a special election, which the pTC commissioners would have to schedule within 120 days of receiving the document. He said he would bring up unsettled issues at the meeting tomorrow.
Victor Tervala, an attorney and consultant with the Institute for Governmental Service, has met with the board and helped with the review. He does not expect the resignation to affect the process.
"Ultimately, it will be the county attorney's decision, but it is probably not necessary to appoint another board member," Tervala said. "The nine-member committee has essentially done its job. They can operate without a chair and submit the charter without a ninth name."
But the rift could have a political impact, he said.
"The split sends signals to the electorate that not even the drafting board can agree," Tervala said.
Dell said the county attorney and the office of the Maryland attorney general offered opinions similar to Tervala's.
"Obviously, they have to have a quorum, but they can function with eight," Dell said.
Pub Date: 2/04/98