Can Mensh take back resignation and serve out her term?

March 27, 2010|By By Mary Gail Hare | The Baltimore Sun

Suzanne Mensh wants her job back.

Whether she can have it is another question.

Baltimore County's longtime clerk of the court inspired a stampede of interest in the $98,500-a-year position last month when she announced plans to retire at the end of May. More than a dozen candidates have applied to serve the six months left in her term, and one county councilman says he is considering a run for the office in November.

Mensh says that it was the aspiration of Councilman Sam Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat who has been arrested for driving under the influence twice in the past four years, that led her to rescind her resignation.

"I could not sit back when I heard he might run," Mensh said Friday. "It is fine that he is dealing with his issues. But you can't take chances with the person who holds this position."

Mensh, 80, says she formally rescinded her resignation last week and plans to serve out her term, which ends in November. She says she is not ruling out a run for re-election, or another office.

"I think I have a strong shot for whatever office I would choose to run for," she said.

But getting her job back might not be so easy. The chief administrative judge of the county Circuit Court has told Mensh that her resignation is final.

"Because of her [resignation] and the actions that the bench took, she's no longer able to withdraw her previous actions," Judge John Grason Turnbull II told the Towson Times.

Mensh says it was Turnbull who pressured her to leave office early.

"He kept asking me to resign," she said. "I felt I was led into the decision ... egged on, so to speak."

Turnbull could not be reached for comment Friday.

Mensh has asked the office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to issue an opinion.

"I am working on the premise that as a constitutional officer, I have the prerogative and the legal right to rescind," she said. "I am working under the assumption that I will complete this term."

A spokeswoman for Gansler confirmed that Mensh had been in touch and said the office would issue an opinion.

Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat representing southwestern Baltimore County, said this week that he would not seek a fifth term on the council but was considering a run for clerk of the court. Moxley's July arrest for driving under the influence was his second in four years; he was found guilty of driving while impaired by alcohol and placed on two years of supervised probation in September.

He has said he is working through his problems and making progress. He said Friday that Mensh's actions "will not interfere with what I decide is best for Baltimore County and my family."

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