Last week's question: Harford County Executive James M. Harkins announced that he will resign to take a top environmental job in the Ehrlich administration. Harkins said he will leave next month, 17 months before his term expires. The announcement has led to a scramble among candidates seeking an edge in the 2006 county executive election. The county charter directs the County Council to chose an interim replacement, who will serve until the election. The council must elect a successor within 30 days of Harkins' departure. Several people have been mentioned as potential candidates to replace Harkins: Council President Robert S. Wagner, Councilman Robert G. Cassilly, Havre de Grace Mayor David R. Craig, and Del. Barry Glassman, chairman of the county's state delegation. Others could step forward in the weeks ahead. Who should replace Harkins in Harford County's top office, and why?
Glassman brings wide experience
The best candidate to replace Harkins as county executive is the current chair of the Harford Delegation to Annapolis, Del. Barry Glassman.
Glassman is a lifelong resident of Harford and is the only candidate that really understands the values and concerns of the citizens of the county.
He has experience on the council, from 1990-1998. He was elected countywide for both of these terms. He has the most complete understanding of - and ability to increase - Harford's standing throughout the state. More importantly, Glassman is a proponent of responsible growth, agriculture, and common-sense solutions that work for all of Harford - and he has refused to be bought by the building and construction industry.
No other candidate can boast of such a complete package of experience and characteristics. Glassman is uniquely qualified.
Laura Anthony Bel Air
David Craig highly qualified
As the Harford County Council weighs the qualifications of potential County Executives, they should look very closely at a Harford County native son who has proven himself time and again. I believe Havre de Grace Mayor David Craig is the best person to help lead Harford County through this transition.
Craig is eminently qualified above all other possible candidates that have been mentioned.
First, he is an educator. One of the primary responsibilities of county government is to provide a top quality education to our children. As a teacher and school administrator, his leadership in this area will benefit our schools.
Second, Craig's experience as a respected legislator in Annapolis, and his ability to cross political lines when necessary to build consensus to get the "job done," will ensure that Harford County will receive its fair share of state dollars for our schools, roads, and public safety needs.
Finally, Craig's executive experience as a three term mayor of a major municipality has prepared him for the responsibilities that will be required of a county executive.
Cassandra Tomarchio Forest Hill
Craig has welfare of Harford in mind
I have seen first-hand how David Craig got things done in Annapolis as a Senator. He is a consensus builder and an honest and good man. He has the welfare of the county in mind and can lead us, as we deal with the expected increase in residents from APG changes. We will need someone who has executive experience and he has it.
Just look at the great things happening in Havre de Grace since he has been mayor. As a resident of Harford County, I would very much like to see him as County Exec.
Paula S. Yutzy Bel Air
Succinct support for Robert Wagner
The BEST choice for County Executive in Harford County is: ROBERT WAGNER.
Patricia M. Dallam Joppa
We want your opinions
ISSUE: The Harford County Council is working on devising a procedure for replacing County Executive James M. Harkins, who recently announced that he is resigning early to take a key environmental job in the Ehrlich administration.
The county charter is of limited help to the council as it sets about the task. The provision that addresses replacing an executive only stipulates that the council pick a replacement by a simple majority vote within 30 days of the previous executive's departure.
Council President Robert S. Wagner says the council, aided by legal staff, is proceeding cautiously in determining the plan.
"You don't want to have a process where you get halfway through it and you say, `Oh man, this is not working,'" he said. "You need a process that you don't deviate from. Whatever we do will set the precedent for the future. If this happens again in 10 or 15 years, those council members will look back to see how we did it this time."
The are several considerations for the council to sort out in the coming days: Who is eligible to be considered as a candidate? Who will assess a potential candidate's eligibility? Will there be a limit on the number of candidates for a final vote? Must a person be formally nominated? By whom? Can the council reject a candidate, and if so, by what rationale? Will there be a public candidate forum?
And a broader question is whether the council should, at some point, revise the charter to include more detailed guidelines for replacing the top elected official in the county.
QUESTION: What key considerations and characteristics should be part of the County Council's plan for picking a new county executive?
YOUR VIEW: Tell us what you think. Send e-mail responses by Thursday to email@example.com. A selection of responses will be published June 12. Please keep your responses short and include your name, address and telephone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.