Many hope to fill seat on council

Roop's death leaves 5th District vacancy for a Republican

15 to 20 people interested

Last day for resumes is Jan. 27

members to choose by secret ballot

January 11, 2000|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

The task of finding a replacement for Councilman Cliff Roop, who died last week and was buried Saturday, was in full swing yesterday as a flood of applicants and others interested in the seat called the council chambers and sent resumes.

Cathleen M. Vitale, chairman of the county's Republican Central Committee, who ran against Roop in the primary, submitted her resume yesterday, as did Perry L. Weed, special assistant to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest.

Roop's campaign manager, Ted Janssen, a management consultant, said he will submit his resume in the next week, and another Roop primary opponent, Lawrence Masterson, a retired National Security Administration executive, said yesterday that he was "kicking around the idea" and would make his decision by next week.

County officials said they have heard from 15 to 20 people interested in the job, including Al Johnson, a long-time Severna Park activist who recently was at odds with Roop over a piece of zoning legislation. Roop adamantly supported Doug Diehl, who is seeking a zoning change to allow him to store produce on his property. Johnson has led the effort against it.

Ardath Cade, a 28-year veteran of government who retired from her post as human services officer in the county last year, said she wasn't interested in filling Roop's seat, despite many people's speculation and hope that she would.

"I think there are a lot of young, bright energetic people in this district that have been growing into leadership roles," she said, "and I think one of them should take it. I have been in government a long time, and I have found semiretirement a very pleasant experience."

County Council members have until Feb. 3 to select a District 5 replacement by secret ballot. Candidates must be registered Republicans for the past year and live in Severna Park.

The deadline for submitting resumes is Jan. 27, when the council will hold an open meeting to interview applicants.

Council members said yesterday that they will also interview candidates individually during the next two weeks to try to narrow the pool and get a better sense of what each stands for.

With five Democrats and one Republican choosing Roop's Republican successor, many in Severna Park worry the final choice may reflect the council's wishes more than the district's.

Council members are also troubled by the idea. After a year campaigning, canvassing their district neighborhoods and appearing before community groups, the idea of anointing a replacement in three weeks for a district they don't represent seems awkward.

"I want to find someone who shares the values and goals Cliff had," said north county Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle. "But how do you do that? We spent months campaigning. We barely know the people that are calling [for the job]. I didn't even know [Roop] until I met him at a campaign forum."

The choice is complicated by the Small Area Planning Committee deadlines. Severna Park is first on the list of areas the council will look for possible zoning changes in the coming months, and Roop's successor will need to be proficient on zoning issues.

County Executive Janet S. Owens said yesterday that she would like to see Janssen or another member of Roop's campaign team succeed him, hoping they might finish what he started.

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