Council selects Bowlsbey as new president
— While the Cecil County Council met for the first time Tuesday morning with its newly elected members Jackie Gregory and Bob Meffley, it will be led by its more tenured members for at least the next two years.
Councilwoman Joyce Bowlsbey was unanimously approved by her peers to become president of the council, taking over the position left by Robert Hodge, who chose to not seek re-election in the latest election. Bowlsbey has served on the council since 2013, when she was appointed by then-County Executive Tari Moore to fill Moore’s vacated seat following the change to charter government. She was later elected to a four-year council term in 2014.
Meanwhile, Dan Schneckenburger, who was also elected to the council in 2014, was approved as vice president of the body, but not without some interesting discussion.
The vice presidency drew nominations of Schneckenburger and also Meffley from the council members. Gregory nominated Meffley for the post while George Patchell, who was also elected in 2014, nominated Schneckenburger.
All five council members are Republicans. Bowlsbey ended the discussion with a secret paper ballot vote, declaring Schneckenburger the victor.
After determining its leaders, the council also reviewed the agenda for Tuesday night’s legislative meeting, which included introduction of a bill to transfer $600,000 in bond expenditure authority from the fiscal year 2018 Capital Projects Fund to the fiscal year 2017 to kickstart electronic permitting for construction projects.
The county departments of planning and zoning, public works and permits and inspections all use the software, which is now about 10 years old, and must be upgraded to allow internet access to process all, or part, of the permitting transactions.
Newly installed County Executive Alan McCarthy has made streamlining of permitting and the reduction of “red tape” for businesses a high priority in his administration.
County Finance Director Winston Robinson, who is temporarily in charge of the department of information technology until a new director is hired, said Tuesday morning that he wants the council to expedite approval of this request to enable upgrades to start as soon as possible.
The IT department has been reporting to Robinson since August.
If council expedites the request, it could be approved Jan. 3.
County Council members Jackie Gregory, Dan Schneckenburger, Joyce Bowlsbey, Bob Meffley and George Patchell pick the council’s officers Tuesday morning.