September 28, 2023
Annapolis, US 65 F

The Next County Executive

countysealYes, you too can lead Anne Arundel County throughout the remainder of former County Executive John R. Leopold’s term in office. The qualifications seem pretty benign, but you will have to get through a vote from the Anne Arundel County Council that will likely prove to be more political than any election fraught with conflicts of interests and posturing. More on that below, but if you are interested:

The Anne Arundel County Council will meet on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 7:00 P.M. to interview candidates and vote on a Resolution to appoint a new County Executive.

Requirements for the Office of County Executive are:

  1. Registration as a Republican for the 12-month period immediately prior to the election by the County Council;
  2. At least 25 years of age; and,
  3. A resident of Anne Arundel County for at least four years immediately preceding the election by the County Council.

People interested in the Office of County Executive are asked to submit a resume, to Elizabeth Jones, Administrative Officer to the County Council, no later than noon on Friday, February 15,2013. A completed financial disclosure statement and questionnaire will also be required by the deadline.

The financial disclosure statement may be found at  Please contact the County Council office for the questionnaire.

Resume and attachments may be mailed to the Office of the County Council, PO Box 2700, Annapolis, MD 21404; hand delivered to 44 Calvert Street, Room 120, Annapolis, MD; emailed to [email protected]; or faxed to 410-222-1755.

The Conflicts

The County Council does not have a good record of effectively replacing people–just look at Peter Smith from District 1. However, this time around, it is far more complex.

Derek Fink (R)

Derek Fink is not in the mix for County Executive, however, he should be recusing himself from the selection process. You see, Delegate Steve Schuh is in the running and any vote (either for or against Schuh) should be a conflict of interest for Fink since Schuh is a business partner with Fink in a number of the Green Turtle Restaurants that have popped up all over the county–Gambrills, Pasadena, and Annapolis.

John Grasso (R)

Grasso says he wants the job, so naturally, he should exclude himself from the deliberations. How can Grasso effectively consider other candidates when he is in the running himself?

Jerry Walker (R)

Likewise, Jerry Walker claims to want the job as well and he needs to recuse himself as well.

Other Issues

Currently there are four republicans serving on the Council.  If three of them recuse themselves, that will leave three democrats (Chris Trumbauer, Jamie Benoit, and Peter Smith) and one republican (Dick Ladd) to select the republican to carry out the rest of the term. So the likely replacement for Leopold will be a left (perhaps far left) of center republican. With Grasso and Walker in the running, the selection will likely be controlled by the democrats.

If party politics can be put aside, it is still a possibility that the four remaining votes will be deadlocked as there is not an “odd man” to break any ties.

This new, uncharted territory for the replacement of the County Executive will be a learning experience for the council and I suspect some additional legislation may come from it.

The Solution

Many have said that the solution is with John Hammond. He is the Acting County Executive and has the experience to run the county. He can deal with the school board (who are licking their chops at the thought of fresh meat in the budget battle), the unions, and more. He has said he will not run in 2014. Why not keep him on until then? Some feel that coming into the office now will assure a leg up in the 2014 race as an “incumbent.”  I am not so sure. I tend to believe an appointee will be unelectable in 2014.

If the democrats are controlling this appointment, you better believe that they want a democrat. So who will they support? A weak candidate to run against “their” candidate in 2014.  Likewise, if the republicans control the selection, they are likely to support a weak candidate since they have already thrown their support to presumptive candidates in the 2014 race.

This will be an interesting procedure for political junkies to watch!  Stay tuned!

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