Sunday, January 27, 2013

Is Charter Right for Carroll County? - The Tentacle.com by Kevin E. Dayhoff January 23, 2013




The decision last November by Frederick County voters to go to a Charter form of government has kept local political junkies preoccupied ever since the election results were announced.

The ballot issue last fall was quite contentious in Frederick County and even the preliminary discussions over exploring such a change in Carroll County has already had a polarizing affect with people taking sides quickly.

Ever since the county was formed in 1837 citizens have tinkered with the county’s form of government.

In 1968 Carroll County voters rejected both Charter government and Code Home Rule. In 1984, Code Home Rule was defeated.

In 1992 Charter government was defeated at the ballot box. In 1998 the voters rejected a referendum to increase the Board of Commissioners to five at-large members and rejected a Charter form of government.

I participated, in vain, in the Carroll County Committee for Charter Government, in the effort to bring a Charter to Carroll County – that was defeated at the polls in 1992.

In the late 1960s, 1980s and early 1990s, many of my close friends and colleagues disagreed with my advocacy for Charter government.

Like most former mayors – who have experienced (municipal) charter government, I strongly believe that Charter is a move in the correct direction for a more cost-effective, efficient and citizen-oriented government.

I bristle that currently local Carroll County decisions are made by people in Annapolis, who do not even know where Carroll County is.

I believe in local control and local decisions. And I am convinced that, in the end, Charter is a cheaper form of government than the anachronistic inefficient and ineffective government we currently have in Carroll County.

According to numerous media accounts including that of Ryan Marshall in the Frederick Gazette, “With the results of Tuesday’s election, Frederick joins Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Talbot and Wicomico counties with charter government…”

And according to a thoughtful opinion written on December 4 by Jackie Jones, of Taneytown, the chair of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, “Carroll is now the largest of the remaining six commissioner counties of 24 jurisdictions in the state…”

Although there have been many conspiracy theories put forth over the years as to why other community leaders, who care about the future of Carroll as much as I do, disagreed.

In the end, they were simply concerned that it would cost too much money.

I am well aware of the suggestion that the opposition to Charter was all about those in power “who didn’t want to lose the power that they had…”

In my experience, many of “those in power,” who are accused of selfishly taking care of their personal power base at the expense of the long-range interests of the citizens of Carroll County, are friends of mine. And I sure hope they were being straight with me when they said they were worried that Charter is a step in the direction of expansive and expensive big government.

Moreover, I share their concern… http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=5583
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Kevin Dayhoff is an artist - and a columnist for:

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My http://www.explorecarroll.com/ columns appear in the copy of the Baltimore Sunday Sun that is distributed in Carroll County: https://subscribe.baltsun.com/Circulation/
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