It could be a part of the County’s 2020 Legislative Package.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Council on Tuesday agreed to send a bill making some changes to the process of filling Board of Education vacancies to a legislative town hall meeting next week.
The measure, sponsored by Councilman Steve McKay would still let the County Executive pick candidates for the School Board vacancies between elections, but the names of those individuals would be made public. In addition, the interviews of each candidates conducted by the County Council would be open to citizens, who would also have an opportunity to comment.
Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer says she wants this process to be done locally, and not have to go through the Maryland General Assembly. “That is again why I think it’s more important that we put in our rules because we can actually spell out in our rules how this would work,” she said. “I’m not sure you’re going to be able to do that in state law. We could literally lay out an entire process in our rules.”
“This language sets a requirement and then we decide how to implement it,” Councilman McKay responded. “It says the interview and the public comment will occur before confirmation. This is the what. The how follows from our rules.”
He also said putting in state law will make it difficult for a future County Council to make changes which keeps the public out of the process.
In addition, McKay says, this bill does not require a special election whenever there’s a vacancy on the Board of Ed. But it allows for citizens to have an input.
One change Councilman McKay did make in his bill was to take out a requirement that the County Executive list the qualifications of the candidates for the Board of Ed. Councilman Kai Hagen said that could cause some confusion. “Qualifications not very clear,” he said. “If you’re going put something in state law like that that’s going to apply, I would want more clarity on that. I think the better option would be, as M.C., suggests, is to remove that one requirement.”
Council President Keegan-Ayer said the vote by the Council only forwards it to the legislative town hall meeting scheduled for October 9th at Winchester Hall at 7:00 PM. She said it could be revised or removed at a later date.
The piece of legislation could be County’s Legislative Package which would go before the 2020 General Assembly which convenes on January 8th.
By Kevin McManus