Second officer leaves association

Jones and Halpin demand resignation of Deborah McCarty

`Just doesn't make sense'

Despite requests, president says she will not step down

March 19, 2000|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Association's vice president for community relations has become the latest casualty in an escalating showdown with President Deborah O. McCarty, who, despite calls for her resignation, said yesterday she does not plan to step down.

Pam Mack, with the Columbia Association for 13 years, is no longer employed there as of Friday, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Mack, who declined yesterday to comment, is the second vice president in less than a week to leave the association after a demand that all six vice presidents submit letters of resignation.

Shelby A. Tucker King, who served as CA's general counsel and secretary, was no longer with CA as of Monday.

It is unclear whether Mack and Tucker King resigned or were fired.

McCarty, who returned Friday to Atlanta, where she is spending much of a two-month leave of absence, declined to discuss Mack's employment status, saying, "I'm not going to comment on any personnel matter."

Kirk Halpin, the Columbia Council representative from Kings Contrivance village, became the second council member to call for McCarty to resign.

"If Deborah McCarty was truly committed to the good of the community," he said, "she would see what she is doing and step down."

Earl Jones, who represents Oakland Mills on the 10-member council, called for McCarty's resignation Friday.

The 10-member Columbia Council, acting as CA's board of directors, issued a statement Friday taking responsibility for requiring the six vice presidents to submit resignation letters.

McCarty met with five of the six last week and told them they had less than 24 hours to submit letters of resignation, noting questions of loyalty.

The letters, which according to the board's statement were drafted by the board, were provided for the vice presidents to sign.

McCarty said she did not expect to accept all of the letters.

The board's statement said that those vice presidents who did not submit resignation letters would be "immediately and automatically removed."

Asked for comment yesterday on the fact that Mack is no longer with CA, Council Chairman Joseph Merke said: "She's not? That's a surprise."

Beverly J. White, a lawyer who is advising Mack, did not return phone calls yesterday.

Mack's office at CA headquarters was cleared of her personal belongings Friday.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," said Barb Seely, chairwoman of the Kings Contrivance Village Board. "It just doesn't make sense."

Community residents, village officials and CA employees packed a public meeting Thursday night to discuss the McCarty situation. She did not attend.

Residents were urged to participate in community-wide elections April 15. Six villages -- Harper's Choice, Hickory Ridge, Oakland Mills, Owen Brown, Town Center and Wilde Lake -- will choose council representatives at that time.

McCarty, who succeeded Padraic M. Kennedy as CA president in August 1998, has said recent disagreements, during which questions have been raised about her leadership and commitment, and the propriety of some of her business expenses -- are about "resistance to change."

In a three-page letter to the community, she said she has been the victim of an unfounded "personal attack."

Some CA employees have expressed concern about the security of their jobs.

At a company-wide staff meeting last week, one told McCarty that CA has a "serious morale problem."

Seely, of Kings Contrivance, said residents and officials supportive of the vice presidents want to do something to help -- right away. "We can't wait until the elections," she said.

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