Victorious Kamenetz to discuss transition plans

Balto. Co. executive-elect pledges 'seamless' segue from Smith

November 03, 2010|Arthur Hirsch and Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Executive-elect Kevin Kamenetz will hold a news conference Thursday to talk about election results and plans for the transition to his administration, his campaign manager said.

Peter Clerkin said Democratic County Councilman Kamenetz was spending time with his family and was not available for questions Wednesday, a day after he defeated Republican Kenneth C. Holt 54 percent to 46 percent in unofficial returns.

Precinct results show Kamenetz, 52, a four-term council veteran from Owings Mills, ran up overwhelming margins in his home territory on the west side and received substantial support in more conservative east-side neighborhoods.

"We really held our own in all parts of the county," Kamenetz said soon after he declared victory about 11 p.m. Tuesday.

He said he would announce plans for his transition in the next few days, noting that he had only about a month of preparation time between Election Day and Dec. 6, when his administration will take office. Kamenetz said his "great relationship" with term-limited County Executive James T. Smith Jr. would ensure a "seamless transition."

Holt, 59, a former state delegate from Kingsville, waited until after midnight to concede the race, and then said that his campaign had come "within a whisper of success."

Kamenetz will be working with a County Council that has undergone its most extensive reshuffling since the mid-1990s. Five of the seven members are new to the panel.

Returning are Democratic members John Olszewski Sr. of District 7 and Kenneth N. Oliver of District 4. Newly elected are Democrats Tom Quirk of Catonsville in District 1 and Vicki Almond of Reisterstown in District 2, and Republicans Todd Huff of Lutherville in District 3 and David Marks of Perry Hall in District 5.

The closest contest was in District 6, where Democrat Cathy A. Bevins of Middle River was leading Republican Ryan Nawrocki of Rosedale by 339 votes, meaning the outcome could be determined by absentee ballots, which are scheduled to be counted Thursday. The two campaigns differ on the number of absentee ballots. Nawrocki's campaign said there are about 1,200; Bevins said a little more than 900. An official tally was not available.

Nawrocki is "cautiously optimistic," said Craig Borne, his campaign manager.

"He feels that he owes it to the folks in the district that supported him so heavily to make sure those folks are all counted," Borne said. "We want to see all the votes come in before [making] any decision."

Meanwhile, Bevins said she's confident of her victory, figuring that Nawrocki would need to win 70 percent of the absentee ballots.

"I think that's highly unlikely," she said.

Baltimore County voters also adopted 10 local ballot questions, most of them giving the county authority to borrow money to pursue public works and economic development projects. Voters also authorized the County Council to approve binding arbitration for county employees, meaning a third party could be called upon to resolve contract bargaining disputes.

Binding arbitration can be used now in negotiations with police and firefighters, and if the council approves the practice, it would be extended to about 3,000 more employees, including code enforcement agents, road inspectors, animal control officers, public nurses and members of the sheriff's department.

Smith campaigned against the measure, saying that binding arbitration could potentially compromise the county's control over spending, but it was adopted by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent. As a member of the council, Kamenetz has opposed binding arbitration for police and firefighters, arguing that it forces the county to treat one group of employees differently from the others and gives a third party a measure of control over the county budget.

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