Letter to the Editor: Talbot County Council Ignores Rules

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Last week Talbot County Council President Corey Pack sent to the legislature two letters purporting to express the County Council’s position on legislation pending in Annapolis. The problem is that this was done completely behind closed doors, with no public knowledge or notice and in disregard for County procedures. Some sort of vote on the issue was taken by the Council (it was not unanimous), but not in public as required by the Charter. But for a legislator mentioning the letter at a hearing on Friday, Talbot’s citizens still might not know anything about it.

President Pack is a third term Councilman, and surely he must have realized that the Council he leads is not supposed to just go off and do its own thing out of public sight. Whether one agrees or not with the Council’s point of view is beside the point; the Council speaks for the County as a whole and there is a proper way for the Council to evaluate an issue and take action in public, so we can know what’s going on.

Based on its disregard for procedure, the Bipartisan Coalition of Talbot County on Tuesday morning formally requested that Mr. Pack contact the legislature and withdraw the improperly authorized letters immediately, in view of the fact that the legislation being influenced is being heard in committee as early as today (Wednesday, February 27).

Perhaps in past years Council Members could assume Talbot’s voters were uninterested and disengaged. But no longer. Plenty of people are genuinely interested in what’s going on, and how the Council is operating in the interests of all.

Dan Watson, Chair
The Bipartisan Coalition of Talbot County

The legislation in question pertains to the permanent protection of the Harris Creek and Tred Avon oyster sanctuaries, which the Council purports to oppose. See the Council’s letter below. The Bipartisan Coalition’s letter requesting its withdraw because the Council letter was improperly authorized is also attached. 

 

 

 

Letters to Editor

  1. Jeffrey Staley says

    This is disturbing and I hope we can have a response in these pages by Mr. Pack. Process and transparency in government is very important and not optional. If this abuse is true, we must thank Mr. Watson and his Coalition for bringing it to our collective attention.

  2. David Lloyd says

    This is very discouraging. Having the Council act in this manner is not at all good. Not sure what the “closed session” rules are but my sense is that there should be, at the very least, notification to the public that a closed session will take place — and the subject matter.

    The subject matter here is also of concern. For the Council to take a position that is detrimental to the future heath of our rivers and waterways makes this action even worse. Makes me think the Council did this in secret because it knew full well that the residents would be very much in opposition to this position. Favoring the interests of the commercial watermen at the expense of the environment now and in the future is scary. I am very disappointed in Council President Pack. I expected a great deal better from him.

    • Dan Watson says

      There is no remedy but for public reaction. Comments to this LTE are nice, but far from enough. Raise some hell.

  3. Capt. Robert Newberry says

    To the author of The Letter Mr. Watson,

    Have you considered the content of this letter and the importance of it towards the seafood industry in Talbot County? It is apparent, not only to the Talbot Council, but also to the rural County coalition that these bills going through the legislature in Annapolis are detrimental to the wellbeing of those citizens and those counties that are involved in the seafood industry.
    The Waterman of Talbot County have taken it on the chin since day one with the creation of the Harris Creek project and Tred Avon. You must realize the importance of the letter, not only from the County Council but also from the rural County coalition on what the effect is on the seafood industry. The lack of coordination by certain government agencies during this entire project process plays a great part in this matter.

    Being upset because the council took a position in favor of the Waterman of Talbot County is definitely not bipartisan. These are hard-working men and women that generate a huge amount of money directly into the county and we should be applauding the county for standing up for them and not finding fault why the county did it.

    • Dan Watson says

      Rob–It was done in the dark. Not only “not right,” but a violation of TC Charter.
      DW

      • Capt. Robert Newberry says

        What about the 16 other counties that did the same thing? I haven’t seen any letters against any of them. just applauding them for making a stand against the special interest groups that bought and paid for the legislators in Annapolis.” Hoorah to them!!

        Capt. Robert Newberry
        Chairman
        Delmarva Fisheries Association Inc

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