Pantelides gets feet wet with first Annapolis council meeting

December 09, 2013|By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun

New Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides got his first taste of controversy as he presided over his first city council meeting on Monday.

Three of the eight aldermen opposed the committee assignments proposed by Pantelides, a Republican who won a 59-vote victory last month.

Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson, Alderman Kenneth Kirby and Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles -- all Democrats -- spoke against Finlayson not being assigned to the Finance Committee, which she served on during the last term.

The new Finance Committee will include Democratic Alderman Ian Pfeiffer as chairman, Democratic Alderman Ross Arnett and Republican Alderman Fred Paone.

Kirby said Finlayson, who is African-American, represented the interests of minority and public housing residents in budget discussions.

Finlayson, Kirby and Pindell Charles all voted against the committee assignments, which passed on a 6-3 vote.

After the meeting, Pantelides said he felt it was a good idea to shake up committee assignments. He said the Finance Committee -- like the council as a whole -- has a mix of people with different experiences.

"We have business people, we have lawyers, we have teachers," he said.

Pantelides, a political newcomer, had a few minor stumbles and the more experienced aldermen occasionally had to remind him of proper procedures.

For example, Pantelides skipped the invocation, which traditionally has rotated among the mayor and aldermen. Finlayson noticed the error and suggested a moment of silence in honor of the late Nelson Mandela.

There also was confusion over whether members of the public get three minutes or five minutes for testimony.

Most of the meeting consisted of routine business. The council approved a resolution honoring Mandela and introduced bills allowing two downtown businesses to sell goods on the sidewalk on New Year's Eve and applying some excess property tax revenue to negotiated employee salaries. 

The sidewalk vending and tax revenue bills will be discussed at the next council meeting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16 at City Hall, 160 Duke of Gloucester St.


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