County Commissioners at odds over rule changes
The Charles County Board of Commissioners are looking to make changes to their rules of procedure, and among the changes amended in the county’s procedures is adding requested items to the commissioner meeting agenda each week.
During the county commissioner’s March 22 meeting, the commissioners approved their new rules of procedure in an effort to streamline the agenda request process.
As it stands, Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) said, if anyone wants to get on the agenda, they must make an agenda request and then the agenda must be voted on by county commissioners to be included.
After the changes to the rules and procedures, the process will be “streamlined,” Murphy said, with County Administrator Michael Mallinoff setting “most of the agenda.”
Murphy will no longer have to recommend requests to the agenda, but they still have to meet his approval, he said.
If a request comes through from a department or another commissioner that could potentially turn into a policy, the board of commissioners will be able to discuss what the policy is and be introduced to it before it is approved by Murphy, he said.
“In that case, I do think it is appropriate that that comes before the board,” Murphy said. “We would still follow the same procedure that we would meet weekly on this.”
The process would be streamlined, but Commissioners’ Vice President Debra Davis (D) voted in opposition to the changes. There was not enough time for county commissioners to take in the changes, she said, and she does not want to approve something she does not have information on.
The revised document on the county’s rules of procedures is 10 pages long with amendments. The item was approved and included when the agenda was posted on March 17, however, the amended rules of procedures document was not fully amended in the county’s Board Docs portal until Monday morning according to county commissioner clerk Danielle Mitchell.
“I can’t imagine how any of us are ready to vote on this,” Davis said.
Murphy said deciding to approve the resolution making the amendments official helps with their government process immediately and does not require department heads waiting “30 minutes to an hour” just to approve agenda requests.
It is an important change because “it allows them to be back in their offices doing what they need to do,” Murphy said.
But Davis said these are very important changes being made to the rules of procedure and need to be looked at throughly.
“I don’t see what the urgency is,” Davis said.
Davis said she also believes the county may have violated their own current rules and procedures by not having the fully amended text up on Board Docs by the previous Thursday.
However, Murphy said, every commissioner had an opportunity to read the document with the amendments on Monday prior to the meeting. And during the meeting, Murphy said, all amendments were discussed.
Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said the agenda item was listed on Thursday. And, besides, he said “it’s not that long a document.”