Councilman: District 1 Battle 'Entrenched'

The council continued its deadlock with a split vote between two top candidates.

UPDATE (8:18 a.m. Tuesday)—The Anne Arundel County Council again failed to come to an agreement Monday night after the third session of voting for a new District 1 representative. 

The deadlock continued Monday night for three rounds before Councilman Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District) asked for a motion to adjourn.

"I'm somewhat disappointed that we find ourselves in the same situation. But we all equally share the blame. We're entrenched," Trumbauer said. "I think that there's no point to keep doing this, and I'd move to adjourn."

The council has been unable to agree on a suitable replacement for Daryl Jones, the former councilman for District 1, who reported to federal prison in January  Just before Jones' sentence began, the council 

 between the top two candidates—Mike Wagner, a Glen Burnie businessman and former state delegate and senator, and Peter Smith, a lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve, from Severn.

After the meeting, both Wagner and Smith spoke with Patch about the outcome, expressing disappointment that District 1's constituents have yet again been left without representation.

"I suppose everyone has their own beliefs for what's best for the council," Wagner said. "It's now become a matter of whether the experience or the youth matters more to them."

Smith said he wished he could have another chance to address three councilmen's apparent disagreement with him as the right candidate for District 1. Neither Wagner nor Smith have had a chance to speak to the council since their interview Feb. 16, which preceded more than 100 rounds of voting in the sessions since.

"One of the things I'm curious about is the hesitancy to not support me. For some reason I'm seen as this opposing force for whatever their long term objectives are, and it's frustrating," Smith said.

Smith also said the council's failure to come to a consensus didn't make the county look good.

"If you take everything into perspective that's happened over the last few weeks, it doesn’t shine a bright light on us, and that's unfortunate," he said.

On Monday night, the council continued its same divide, with Councilmen Jerry Walker (R-7th District), Trumbauer and Jamie Benoit (D-4th District) choosing Smith and Councilmen Derek Fink (R-3rd District), Dick Ladd (R-5th District) and John Grasso (R-2nd District) choosing Wagner.

The council will attempt to settle the matter for a fourth time at their next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. March 19.

Marc Sanders March 07, 2012 at 11:35 AM
If the council can't reach a majority for a backfill candidate, then they should initiate the normal process for electing a candidate. Perhap the county should consider a designated contingency "tie-breaker" vote in the future, analogous to how the Vice President can break ties in the Senate. Then again, who would be best to cast that note - perhaps not the County Exec.
Bradford A. Thomas March 07, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I say get rid of the entire council and elect new people totally.
Amy Leahy March 08, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Does anyone know anything about Peter Smith and his political views?
Joshua Michael March 16, 2012 at 06:50 AM
Class actions arent free... besides the court system is extremely slow and this will be resolved before a judge could enact anything. Besides who would you sue? The county? The six council members? Its just odd when you look at the county charter.. It defines a quorum as 4 members but seem to have no method to break a tie there or in this case when there is a vacancy. As mentioned this is a serious flaw in the charter. Unfortunately, there aren't transcripts from when the charter was being made and revised(that I have found) that allow us to determine if anyone brought the potential for a tie up or if it was just not considered. And it cant be fixed until there is a 7th members because if you attempt to make changes that would give the power to decide a tie breaker to the Chairman or County Executive you might just have another vote that is deadlocked because Mr Ladd has voted for Wagner aka a vote to change it to allow him to choose would be a vote for Wagner. They should restart the process and attempt to find new members. Id also put some weight into the fact that the two democrats on the council voted for the Peter Smith. The Charter states new members must be from previous members political party. In the spirit of that Smith should be the new guy and in a perfect world the county council would yield to that this time until a new procedure is enacted. Here is link to charter via a link on county website : http://www.aacounty.org/CountyCode/index.cfm
Joshua Michael March 16, 2012 at 07:30 AM
I cant find anywhere in county charter or after a quick skim of state Constitution information on who would have original jurisdiction in this and who has the right to bring suit against the county council for failing to follow the charter. Besides what could the courts do? Force more votes? Place a new members(it would be a violation of charter for vacancy to be filled this way)? What to do.... Couldn't the state legislative branch get involved and appoint someone? They give counties their authority via their charter.


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