Cassilly not set on status of seat

Councilman to decide whether to resign before going to Iraq

March 26, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

Despite a report to the contrary, Harford County Council member Robert G. Cassilly, who is training in North Carolina before a deployment to Iraq, has not made up his mind about whether to resign his seat on the council, and a decision is not expected until late April, a family member said Friday.

A judge advocate in the Army Reserve, Cassilly was mobilized early last month for training at Fort Bragg, a precursor to an 18-month tour of duty. By rule, Cassilly, a Republican who represents Bel Air, is allowed to retain his seat on the council for the duration of his term. But he cannot run for re-election this fall because he did not file campaign paperwork before his mobilization became official.

During Cassilly's absence, the council, which is down to six members, has tallied several 3-3 votes on issues including a referendum on in-district elections and the elimination of a rezoning amendment for a controversial property on Route 22. At least four votes are needed for a measure to pass.

FOR THE RECORD - Last Sunday, with an article about County Councilman Robert G. Cassilly, the Harford section of The Sun published a photograph that was identified as the councilman. The photo was not of Cassilly, who is pictured above.
The Sun regrets the error.

On Friday, Cassilly's wife, Deborah, said that the councilman had not made up his mind about resigning and was unlikely to do so until late next month, when his unit is expected to leave for Iraq. She said she was "pretty surprised" at a local news report that said he was likely to resign.

"He has not made up his mind," she said. "It's his intention to hold on until the end of April. Beyond that, it's his decision, and he'll do what's best for the county."

If Cassilly were to step down, the county Republican Central Committee would submit at least three candidates to the council, which would vote on a successor. A similar situation occurred last year when County Executive James M. Harkins announced that he was resigning with 16 months remaining in his term. The Republican stepped down to take a job with the Maryland Environmental Service, an independent quasi-state agency that operates dozens of water and wastewater plants around the state.

A replacement could come from the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners, which is where Cassilly got his start. Two commissioners - Mayor Terrence O. Hanley and James McMahan - are said to be interested in the position and are expected to run in the election this fall.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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