For the month of August, the Anne Arundel County Council is in a legislative recess. While there are no public meetings or discussions over legislation, working for the residents of our district takes place every day. One responsibility of the county council is to appointment individuals to commissions within the county. There are a total of 60 boards, commissions and councils in Anne Arundel, and each of these bodies is composed of selected volunteers who were vetted through an application process.
In the past three years of serving on the council, I have voted on appointments to the Board of Appeals, Human Relations Commission, Pension Oversight Commission, Soil Conservation District and Planning Advisory Board, just to name a few. With five dozen civil service groups in the county, the need for interested and willing volunteers is critically important to the success of each.
The county council has three upcoming appointments when we return from our summer recess. In September, appointments will be made to the Salary Standard Commission and the Ethics Commission.
The Salary Standards Commission is tasked with reviewing current council compensation and benefits, comparing with surrounding jurisdictions and counterparts across the country, and making recommendations for any changes to the next county council. This is a four-year term for all seven members.
The Ethics Commission was created by voters to administer the Public Ethics Law, in addition to training and advising county employees. The commission assures the residents of the county that elected officials and employees have impartial and independent judgment in decisions that they are tasked with. There is one seat open for appointment by the council for this commission.
Later this year, the council will appoint members to the Charter Review Commission and Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The Stakeholder Advisory Committee will have the responsibility of reviewing our district as part of the General Development Plan for Region 4. They will create a document of recommendations for land use, zoning, environmental features, infrastructure and public safety, while staying in line with the goals of Plan2040.
The Charter Review Commission has an important responsibility to the citizens of Anne Arundel County as their primary role is to recommend revisions to the county charter and councilmanic redistricting. Simply put, our charter is the framework for county government, granting powers, duties and privileges, specifically for Anne Arundel County. Our councilmanic map determines which district you reside in, of the seven council districts. The commission will be tasked with using the 2020 census information to create near equal populations in each district. The county council is actively seeking applications for the Charter Review Commission.
While there are just four known commission or committee appointments the council will make this year, having qualified, interested individuals submit resumes for future considerations is very important. Whether it be an unexpected vacancy, or a term limit, the council is regularly responsible for filling these important seats. I hope all residents will consider these opportunities.
When the council reconvenes in September, two pieces of legislation I have introduced are scheduled for public comment and a vote.
The first is Resolution 36-21, in support of the county executive promptly entering into an agreement with Robert A. Pascal Youth and Family Services for the leasing of a county owned property adjacent to a current property that Pascal Youth and Family Services is currently leasing. In 2019, Pascal entered into an agreement with the county to lease a vacant county owned building and expeditiously invested over $700,000 to renovate and bring the interior and exterior up to code in order to offer critical mental health services and beds for those in crisis. This new leasing opportunity would help Pascal expand its services to address its daily waitlist of over a dozen residents in need, at no cost to the taxpayer.
This expansion to a building that has an elevator would also allow Pascal to offer mental health crisis services to those who are disabled. While I was disappointed that the administration asked the council to reject this resolution, I will be steadfast in my support of growing private and public partnerships that provide the necessary and critical treatment to those in crisis.
Bill 71-21 will restructure the certification and renewal process for pool operating and lifeguard licenses in the county. Currently, the county is one of few, if not the only, jurisdiction to require lifeguards to get a license from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, verifying their certification as a lifeguard. We are also the only large jurisdiction to require an annual certification for pool operators. Both of these are unnecessary, burdensome and costly steps to pool management companies, community owned pools and the department staff. This bill will remove the necessity to license a certified lifeguard and will move the pool operating certification to a triennial timeline. I will continue to address bureaucratic waste in an effort to support local business, their employees and use of your tax dollars.
If you are interested in serving on a county commission or board and would like more information, please reach out to me. I am available to you and your family for all questions and concerns related to our great district. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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