A chaotic state of affairs in Columbia

Leadership gap: Chaos at the Columbia Association resembles amateur hour for the paranoid.

Agenda 2000 Howard County

March 17, 2000

QUESTIONS about Columbia Association President Deborah O. McCarty reached a new level of curiosity last week when she requested the resignations of her six vice presidents.

On the surface, Ms. McCarty already had enough on her plate. Questions have been raised about

va01 some of her expenses and, more important, about her devotion to the $130,000-per-year job she has held for the last 18 months.

Though she is in the middle of an on-again, off-again leave -- and spending considerable time in Atlanta -- she suddenly requested the resignations of on-the-job and in-Columbia assistants.

This extraordinary maneuver -- apparently aroused by "loyalty" concerns -- follows an effort by some members of the Columbia Council to censure council members who have asked legitimate questions about the McCarty administration. The censure effort, since abandoned, seemed outrageous: If the council's job is not to be a check and balance in the quaint structure of government in Columbia, what is it?

The citizens of Columbia, an assembly of smart people, cannot be happy about this chaotic state of affairs. A public hearing or two seems to be in the offing and one hopes that a new incorporation movement may result.

Some oppose such a move, believing politics can be so political, so messy and so inefficient. As matters stand, though, it seems unlikely that a new form could be less competent or professional.

What is happening now is embarrassing. Given what has come along so far, the good citizens of Columbia might want to fasten their seat belts -- or incorporate their city before embarrassment becomes chronic.

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