GOP appoints 4 members to its committee

After major upheaval, central panel back to 9

`The contention is over'

Replacements to start serving immediately

Election 2004

October 24, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

After months of infighting and uncertainty that culminated in the resignation of half its members, the Carroll County Republican Central Committee is back to its full complement of nine.

The five remaining members, one of whom was appointed earlier this month, named four replacements Thursday - two men and two women - who will begin serving on the committee immediately.

"We are really excited with all these people," said David Jones, GOP committee chairman. "We are back up to speed with people who have all been involved with the party at the grass-roots level."

FOR THE RECORD - A story that ran in Sunday's edition incorrectly stated the job title and political experience of a new member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee. Scott Hollenbeck is a licensed practical nurse who filed for the office of Register of Wills in 2002 but withdrew his candidacy before the primary. The Sun regrets the errors.

The committee reviewed about 15 resumes before appointing Larry Helminiak, Scott Hollenbeck, Betsy Combass and Koreen Hughes.

"This was a tough decision for us," said Jones. "We interviewed a lot of good people and spent a lot of time discussing how they would fit into the committee. We were looking for workers."

He called Helminiak, who ran unsuccessfully in 2002 for the new delegate seat in South Carroll, "a real ideas man, who can come up with solutions to most any problem." The Eldersburg resident owns Carroll Insulation Co.

Helminiak said he is eager to work on Republican issues and put the contention to rest.

"From here on in, everything will be relatively smooth," he said. "I know all the committee people and have worked with most of them. We all are working for the party's interests. Even the people who left are still working for the party."

Hughes, of Eldersburg, is an aide to state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who is running against U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Hughes is a tenacious supporter of GOP candidates and issues, Jones said. Hughes is chairing Pipkin's election campaign.

Hollenbeck, a registered nurse and Westminster resident, was elected to the committee in 1998. He ran unsuccessfully for register of wills two years ago. He brings committee and campaign experience to the new board.

"Scott has been really involved in voter registration drives," said Jones.

Combass, a nurse who is retired from the military, is the newest resident to join the committee.

"We are all eager to get to work, and we have a lot to work on," Jones said.

For a brief interval last month, the committee was down to four members. One of those was Joseph F. Burns Jr., who had been ousted in a closed session July 6 for what the committee chairwoman called housekeeping issues.

Burns, who was appointed to the committee three years ago and then elected in 2002, contended that the members had no authority to replace an elected official and sought redress in Carroll County Circuit Court.

In September, Carroll County Circuit Judge Michael M. Galloway temporarily reinstated Burns, ruling that until the issue was resolved, Burns would remain a member of the central committee, with full rights and privileges. That ruling prompted the resignation of Chairwoman Michelle Jefferson and committee members Yvonne Deardorff, Josie Velazquez and Travis Zepp.

The decimated committee brought its numbers to five with the appointment of April Rose to a vacancy created by the departure of Amanda Boyd in August. They also solicited resumes to fill the other four positions.

"The contention is over, and we are all looking forward to the future," Helminiak said.

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