Another Klosterman conflict

Arundel: Council chairman's judgment is still too poor for him to remain leader of lawmaking panel.

April 20, 2000

WHEN will Dan Klosterman learn?

Five months ago, the Anne Arundel County Council chairman promised to be more careful about exercising his public power to benefit people close to him. He made this promise after it was discovered that he had lobbied county officials on behalf of an accounting client that does business with the county and had then led council budget discussions concerning his client.

The Millersville Democrat used his position to benefit his client despite the county ethics commission's warning against this activity.

After the matter was publicized, the chairman seemed contrite. He said he would refrain from discussing issues concerning his client in future council meetings. He sounded like a man who would henceforth follow the letter of the ethics law.

Fat chance. Mr. Klosterman is in trouble again, for essentially the same thing.

He listened to county firefighters as they pleaded for a new contract and publicly supported the union in its negotiations with County Executive Janet S. Owens. The chairman's nephew is an Anne Arundel firefighter. And the county's ethics law prohibits council members from engaging in matters that would benefit relatives.

That was unbelievably foolish for a public official whose first conflict-of-interest transgression still is being considered by the county's ethics commission.

Mr. Klosterman certainly didn't exercise the judgment council member Cathleen M. Vitale demonstrated. Ms. Vitale's husband is a firefighter; she wisely kept quiet about the union's plea for more money when the group brought its case to the council.

This is just Ms. Vitale's second month on the council. It is Mr. Klosterman's second term. The newer council member isn't necessarily a fast learner; the curve for Mr. Klosterman is just hard to believe.

Mr. Klosterman is showing again that he may not be ready to serve as the council's leader.

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