A vote for more fair representative government
In the summer of 2015, I was appointed to a committee for the Council of Governments, which represents the eight incorporated municipalities of Queen Anne’s County and the Board of County Commissioners.
The committee was to study and recommend changes to how citizens elect Queen Anne’s County Commissioners, in an effort to address the turnover of the entire Board of County Commissioners after each election.
The main concern of the COG at that time was the lack of knowledge, experience and historical perspective of the current Board of County Commissioners.
Upon researching the method of how County Commissioners are elected in Queen Anne’s County, it was determined that of the 17 people that have served as County Commissioner during the last 3 elections, only 1 had been re-elected to office. It was evident that the voters of Queen Anne’s County were replacing their Board of Commissioners every 4 years. This turnover contributed to the lack of knowledge, experience and historical perspective, resulting in a substantial cost to the taxpayers.
Also during research of the issue, it was determined that 3 of the 4 current sitting commissioners, did not win their own districts, arguably disenfranchising the voters of those districts. As a point of interest, 2 of those 3 commissioners that did not win their own districts, collectively spent in excess of $187,000 on their campaigns for a position that pays $25,000 annually.
The Council of Governments voted unanimously to support legislation for a non-binding straw poll that would afford Queen Anne’s County citizens the right to express their opinion on how the Board of County Commissioners is elected.
I had the opportunity to testify before the Maryland Legislature in favor of the legislation and quite frankly was amazed at the Queen Anne’s County residents who signed up in opposition, and testified against the bill that provided the residents of Queen Anne’s County the opportunity to express their opinion on this very important issue. These residents who expressed their opposition included a current sitting County Commissioner, 2 former County Commissioners, the Chairman of the Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee and the Chairperson of the 2001 committee that recommended the method that is currently used to elect Queen Anne’s County Commissioners.
Here’s the question; why did these folks oppose the right of the citizens to express their opinion on this very important issue? THE COG STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE PEOPLES’ RIGHT TO VOTE!
In an effort to address the aforementioned County Commissioner turnover issue, and begin a serious discussion about a more fair representative government, the Council of Governments and I strongly urge everyone to VOTE FOR BALLOT QUESTION ‘A’.
CHARLIE RHODES Church Hill TownCommissioner