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Editor’s Note: Due to deadline limitations, there will be a follow-up article in Friday’s edition of the Cecil Whig discussing the results of Tuesday’s county council special session.

ELKTON — Yesterday evening, the Cecil County Council met in a special meeting that may expedite a charter amendment in order for it to meet a deadline that would allow it to go before the public in November.

The resolution, brought forward by Council President Bob Meffley, would amend Article 2 of the Cecil County Charter under Section 205 “Qualifications” to expand the rules to allow “current employees of public agencies, boards, commissions or other public bodies, which receive county funds, not under the direct supervision or substantially controlled by the County Executive or County Council.”

Former and retired employees will continue to be eligible as council members.

”The amendment also removes disqualification for those who are involved in the public business of the county so that the county’s procurement regulations will be followed to ensure open and fair purchasing practices,” Council Manager Jim Massey told the Whig.

Most council members have expressed some level of support for this measure, with the exception of Al Miller (R-District 3).

“I just want to be careful that we do a good job of looking at it before we throw it into the to the public,” Miller said on June 16. “I’d like to go over it more.”

“I really don’t have a problem with the way the charter is written today,” Miller said.

However, Council Member Bill Coutz said that in a small county, such as Cecil, expanding eligibility for council leadership would open the “much smaller pool” of qualified “and willing” candidates for county council.

The text

The amendment could see the following changes (where italics means text would be deleted and underlined text would be added):

205. Qualifications

(a) Each council member shall be a citizen of the United States and, for at least one year immediately preceding election or appointment, a resident and registered voter of the County. Each council member shall be a resident of the residency district from which the council member is elected or appointed for at least six months immediately preceding election or appointment.

(b) While serving as a council member, no council member may:

(1) Hold any other elected public office;

(2) Be employed in an appointed office or any non-elected position in any public agency, department, board, commission, or other public body that receives funds through the Budget or is involved in the public business of the County; or

(3) Receive compensation for serving in an appointed office or any non-elected position in any public agency, department, board, commission, or other public body that receives funds through the Budget or is involved in the public business of the County.

© A retired, former county employee receiving a pension shall not be considered to be serving in a public body for purposes of this section and shall be eligible to be a council member if all the other provisions of this section are satisfied.

(b) While serving as a council member, no council member may:

(1) Hold any other elected public office;

(2) Hold any other office of profit created by the Maryland Constitution or laws of the State, pursuant to Article 35 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights; or

(3) Be employed by a department or agency of the County government, which is substantially controlled by the Executive or the Council.

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