Fund transfer rule fails vote

Executive authority affirmed

July 09, 2008|By Steven Stanek | Steven Stanek,Sun Reporter

Anne Arundel County Council members have voted down a controversial charter amendment that sought to impose greater restrictions on the county executive's ability to transfer funds.

The measure, which was blocked Monday night 4-3 - short of the five-vote supermajority needed to make changes to the county's founding document - would have required the county executive to seek approval when reallocating sums of $50,000 or more within a department.

County Executive John R. Leopold welcomed the council's decision.

"This charter resolution which was defeated last night was an ill-advised and ill-timed solution looking for a problem. This amendment represented gratuitous micromanagement," Leopold said yesterday. "I'm pleased that the council took the action it did."

Four of six charter amendments proposed in recent weeks have been scratched, including one that would have given the council 15 extra days to review the budget and another that would have allotted the council four appointments to the seven-member planning advisory board, a committee that helps determine funding for building projects and is hand-picked by the county executive.

Council members passed a minor amendment that would make any bill passed by the council a law if the county executive fails to sign it within 10 days. Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat, on Monday withdrew another amendment that would allow the council to appoint three members to the seven-member Ethics Commission. He said he plans to resubmit it.

Benoit, who also introduced the measure seeking greater oversight on spending, said he would continue to push for a more open system.

"We had the debate, it was a good debate, and it's something that we will keep looking into," Benoit said. "Hopefully I can come up with a consensus solution."

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