Councilmans plans unclear

Harford colleagues await word from Cassilly, who is on Army duty

April 25, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

His final months as a Harford County councilman interrupted by active duty with the Army, Republican Robert G. Cassilly said Friday he has been voiding his county paychecks, was turning in his county cell phone and planned to send an e-mail message to his colleagues and the press about his future as a public official.

The message - which he told The Sun would be sent yesterday evening - had not materialized by 10 p.m. last night amid speculation he intended to retain the seat while away. But family members reached at home said they expected the message - whatever it would say - was imminent.

Cassilly, who represents Bel Air, is a civil affairs officer in the Reserve and was mobilized in February. He left the council abruptly two months ago for training in North Carolina before a yearlong tour in Iraq.

He was completing his first term and will not be able to seek reelection in November.

Cassilly knew of his deployment about a month before informing the council in February, and he left for training in North Carolina days later. Aside from picking up mail at the county offices while visiting home recently, his communication with the council has been limited, council members say. Council President Robert S. Wagner said he is irritated by the lack of communication. The responsible thing to do would be to step down and relinquish the seat, Wagner said last night.

From talking with other county officials, Wagner added, it appears that Cassilly does not intend to resign.

Cassilly is entitled to hold the position until he returns - though he did not register as a candidate and cannot do so while on active duty, which prevents him from running in the fall.

Meanwhile, in his absence, the council has had a handful of tie votes that resulted in contentious measures being defeated.

In February, Cassilly indicated that he had not ruled out running for another term, with his family possibly running the campaign while he was abroad. But he had not filed before being mobilized, and a Defense Department directive prohibits political activity, including registering as a candidate, while on active duty.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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