Law ruled invalid, 2 on City Council won't have to run for seats in Nov.

March 12, 1998|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Two City Council members who were expected to have to run for their seats under a new law that called for a special election in November apparently will remain in office through 1999, because the law is invalid.

State legislators, who would have to pass a law in the General Assembly session to allow for the special election, said yesterday that they have no plans to do so.

"At this time, I don't know of anyone who is going to introduce the bill," said Democrat Frank D. Boston Jr., chairman of the city's House delegation to the General Assembly.

Democratic state Sen. Joan Carter Conway said she doesn't think that a bill would be introduced this year, "and if it does, I am not willing to back it."

The seats held by appointed council members Bernard C. "Jack" Young of East Baltimore and Rita R. Church of Northeast Baltimore will go before voters with all local government offices in the regular 1999 election.

The scheduled special election for this year was dropped abruptly because the state attorney general's office issued an opinion saying that the city law contradicts state law, which allows only counties to hold special elections. City Solicitor Otho M. Thompson said that the city will not challenge the opinion.

In 1994, city officials amended the City Charter to force anyone appointed to fill a vacancy in an elected office to run for the seat as part of the next scheduled election, whether it was local, state or federal.

The change was intended to give voters a chance to approve appointees without having to wait until the city's next four-year election cycle. They also would have to run for their seats in the city's regularly scheduled election.

Pub Date: 3/12/98

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