May 30, 2023
Annapolis, US 65 F

Annapolis Council Moves to “Deputize” Mayor’s Personal Boat

Photo: R. Hutzell (Meanwhile in Annapolis)

UPDATE: Shortly after this was published, the Office of Law responded on behalf of the Harbormaster along with a copy of the citation issued to the Mayor on May 18, 2022, along with a receipt showing payment for the $100 fine on June 3, 2022. (Document added below)

On Friday, the Annapolis City Council passed a resolution on a first reader to deputize the Mayor’s personal vessel. The next council meeting (June 27, 2022) will afford public input and then ultimately a final vote.

R-39-22 Use and Deputization of Mayor’s Personal Vessel for Governmental Use – For the purpose of officially demonstrating that water transportation is a viable option in Annapolis that will reduce road congestion and greenhouse gas emissions; for further demonstrating that governmental services, as applicable, can be improved through the deputization of the Mayor’s personal vessel; and related other matters.

In the meeting, the Mayor said that boat was paid for with his personal funds without any taxpayer dollars. He said it is a “municipal looking” boat and will be used for working on identifying water access and mobility projects over the next four years.

Alderman Gay questioned why the City did not just purchase a boat for this use, and the Mayor said he did not think that would pass muster. The City is in the process of acquiring an electric ferry to transport passengers and bicyclists (no vehicles) from Eastport to downtown Annapolis. The Mayor invited members of the public to come out to tour the initiatives underway.

Listen to the comments here:

There have been some stipulations suggested by the outgoing City Manager, David Jarrell.

This Resolution allows for the deputization of a Mayor’s personal vessel for use as part of the Mayor’s governmental duties and responsibilities. The deputization includes the following requirements or stipulations:

1. The City may deploy the Mayor and that personal vessel as may be needed, in the City’s sole discretion, for public service uses.

2. The Mayor shall coordinate City-use of that personal vessel with the City’s Harbormaster, and the Mayor shall contactl the Harbormaster’s office if he or she becomes aware of any violations of Title 15 of the City of Annapolis Code.

3. The Mayor shall be entitled to dock his or her deputized personal vessel (of any size) at any City harbor, dock, launching facility or street end.

4. The Mayor shall continue to bear all expenses incidental to the possession, use, operation and maintenance of that personal vessel.

5. No City funds will be provided to the Mayor in exchange for this donation of services as relates to use of that personal vessel.

6. This donation by the Mayor is a gift with no expectation of a monetary return or gain.

A neighbor of the Mayor contacted Eye On Annapolis about this issue and stated that the Mayor had been using the street-end dinghy dock for permanent dockage of his boat and had received a citation from the Harbormaster. We have reached out to the Harbormaster to confirm this and have not received a response to our inquiry.

According to the Harbormaster’s website:

Boats may not be left on public docks for more than 2 consecutive nights, or 10 nights per year total. The size restrictions for the dinghy docks are: overall length of 12 feet or less, with an engine not greater than 25 horsepower.

The Office of Law replied on behalf of the Harbormaster (edit):

Download (PDF, Unknown)

This resolution (by way of City Manager comments) appears to exempt the Mayor’s vessel from these regulations as the length is 17′, and the horsepower of the motor exceeds 25 HP.

Questions have also been raised in terms of liability.

  • Will the City be responsible for the insurance of the vessel?
  • Will the City be liable if there is an incident with the vessel (accident, fuel leak, theft, etc.)?
  • Will the Mayor’s teenage sons and wife have access to the vessel?
  • Was the Mayor given the authorization to utilize the City logo on a personal vessel?

Rick Hutzell, recently took a ride with the Mayor on his commute to City Hall from his home in Murray Hill and discussed the Mayor’s vision for water access and water transit.

Rick Hutzell’s Meanwhile in Annapolis article.

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