County Council delays vote on ethics panel bill The...

ARUNDEL DIGEST

August 07, 2002

County Council delays vote on ethics panel bill

The Anne Arundel County Council has postponed a vote on a bill that could give it more control over appointments to the county ethics panel.

Critics had said the measure would give council members too much power over a body charged with policing the conduct of elected officials.

The measure came under fire during the council's meeting Monday night from the watchdog group Common Cause/Maryland and former ethics commission chairman William Howard. They said it would make commission members less accountable and more beholden to the politicians who appoint them.

Some council members seemed inclined to agree; the council voted to table the bill so more testimony could be heard at its meeting Aug. 19.

"It has all the appearance of being so self-serving," Councilwoman Shirley Murphy, a Pasadena Democrat, said Monday.

The measure would enlarge the ethics commission from seven to nine members and let each council member appoint one member, with the remaining two appointed by the county executive. It would also do away with public hearings on appointments and eliminate staggered terms.

Under current law, the county executive appoints the commission, with the council confirming the nominees at a public hearing. The measure, if it passes, would require the approval of voters in a November referendum.

Seminar to help children stay safe set for tonight

Prompted by recent incidents of missing and abducted children nationwide, the Anne Arundel County Police Department is presenting "Stranger Danger," a seminar on helping children stay safe.

The seminars begin at 7:30 p.m. The first one is tonight at the Northern District police station, 939 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn. The other dates and locations are:

Aug. 14, Western District police station, 8273 Telegraph Road, Severn.

Aug. 15, Southern District police station, 2972 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater.

Aug. 23, Eastern District police station, 3700 Mountain Road, Pasadena.

The Police Department is asking parents to take their children to the department closest to their homes for the seminar.

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