It’s been six months since I was sworn in as the County Council Member representing District 3. After forty years representing many of you in the Maryland House of Delegates, I have found the differences between the two legislative bodies to be profound.
****Concerning Openness and Transparency****
During the 2014 campaign for Council, the most important commitment I made to each of you – the people of the Third District – was to work to make County Government more Open and Transparent and to inform my constituents of the issues before the Council.
During my time in the Maryland House of Delegates, I worked hard to keep my constituents informed on issues before the Legislature by sending out information to over 7,500 constituents via email. After transferring the email addresses from the State of Maryland System, we were back online two months after I took office in December 2014. Many constituents have commented that this is the first time that they have received such detailed and helpful information on Council activities, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to begin to deliver on this commitment.
After two months on the Council, I was shocked to find out that the Council Website DID NOT provide the Agenda for the Council Work Sessions (public hearings). It does now, and of course that’s one more step towards the transparency that I promised each of you.
My next goal is to expand opportunities for public input on bills before the Council. Currently, legislation that becomes controversial cannot be Special Ordered in order to give the Council, the citizenry and interested parties an opportunity to resolve outstanding issues. The County Charter mandates that Legislation is limited to a 40 day life. Due to other requirements, the Work Sessions are held approximately 29 days after introduction and the final vote is just six days later, thus providing no opportunity to delay the consideration of legislation. I have been working on plans designed to address this problem, and look forward to sharing the progress I make with you in future updates and reports.
*****Council Members are entitled to a County Car, Cell phone and receive a salary of $63,500 – $8,500 above last terms salary*****
If elected, I promised not to take the car, cell phone or the salary increase. I have not taken the car or cell phone and have donated my salary increase to a local charity.
Thank you for trusting me with this task. I look forward to continuing to deliver on the promises I’ve made to each of you.