Inaction urged of commissioners

Board hopefuls' letter asks current members to put off major decisions

October 16, 2002|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

The eight candidates for Carroll commissioner plan to sign a letter this evening asking the current board of commissioners not to take major actions during the remainder of its term, several of the candidates said.

The letter follows similar requests from town and state officials, concerned that Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier are trying to cram irreversible policy decisions into their final weeks in office. Their terms end in early December.

"History has shown in many jurisdictions throughout the state, that late-term decisions made on critical issues are not prudent," the letter reads. "These decisions are typically motivated by politics or individual desires and have not been made in the best interests of the citizens."

Dell and Frazier have dismissed any suggestion that they should back off of decisions given their decisive defeats in the Sept. 10 Republican primary.

"Everyone's entitled to their opinions, but we were elected to do a job, and we're finishing that job," Frazier said. "We're not tackling any new issues. We're wrapping up old business, and I think that's proper."

Dell called the letter "so absurd it doesn't even deserve a response."

"There are three commissioners and we swore an oath to run this county," he added. "That's what we're doing."

Melvin Mills, a Westminster business owner who ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 1998, wrote the letter and asked the eight candidates, including incumbent Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge, to sign, said Democratic candidate Jeannie Nichols of Sykesville.

Gouge was among the first to criticize Dell and Frazier for trying to pack vital decisions into their last months in office. She reiterated her stance yesterday when she said the county should wait for the new board to take office before drafting its list of legislative priorities for the 2003 General Assembly session.

"The new board needs to see these items before they are approved," Gouge said after county attorneys presented a list of possible bills that might interest the county.

Nichols said she signed because the commissioners "are making decisions that won't be able to be reversed easily. It's disturbing that they want to make decisions they know aren't ones the next board would make."

Nichols' thoughts echo those expressed last week by state Secretary of Planning Roy Kienitz, who wrote that Dell and Frazier shouldn't make major votes on growth policy because they had lost to candidates promising a different growth strategy.

The candidates' letter noted concerns about several issues including plans to auction off the old Hampstead Elementary School, bid out control of the airport and vote on a comprehensive rezoning of 49 properties countywide. Hampstead leaders have criticized the late-term decision to auction the school as an act of political vindictiveness.

Sun staff writer Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.

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