Welch, 85, planning to retire, City Council colleagues say

Son and longtime aide seen as likely replacement

November 09, 2010|By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

City Councilwoman Agnes Welch, who has represented Southwest Baltimore for more than a quarter century, is planning to retire before the end of the year, her colleagues say.

Welch, 85, has not set a firm date for her retirement, Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young said. She is serving her seventh term on the council.

"She said she was really enjoying her work on the council, but there comes a time when you want to leave still at the top of your game," said Young, who met with her before Monday's council meeting.

Calls to Welch were not immediately returned Tuesday.

Her son and longtime aide, William "Pete" Welch, said the councilwoman is contemplating retirement, but has made no formal announcement.

City Hall observers consider William Welch the likely successor to his mother's seat and speculate that her retirement will be timed to allow him to go into next year's election as the incumbent.

When a council seat is open, the 14 other council members host public interviews for the seat and vote on a successor.

William Welch laughed off questions of whether he would run for his mother's seat, saying it was "putting the cart before the horse."

"When a councilperson who has served for a long time takes a new direction, you don't know where the dust settles," he said. "If I'm the dust, I haven't settled yet."

Welch said he is a certified public accountant and runs his own accounting practice on evenings and weekends. He has served on his mother's staff since she was first elected, and was grandfathered when a change in the city charter prevented council members from hiring close relatives.

The Ninth District, home to Poppleton, Rosemont and Sandtown, is one of the city's poorest.

The chairwoman of the council committee on aging and urban affairs, Welch led a group of senior citizens to protest in the spring when Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake threatened to eliminate the budget for the recreation and parks senior programs. The funds were restored when the council approved a package of new taxes proposed by Rawlings-Blake.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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