Dear Pres. Callahan and Councilmembers:
Hoping you’ve all enjoyed a happy holiday season and have had an opportunity to spend time with family and friends before settling down to business with your new term of office.
We’re writing in connection with the pending appeal of the Circuit Court’s decision concerning the Planning Commission appointment. As you may already know, we’ve filed an appeal to the Appellate Court of Maryland.
We’d like to share how we see this case and why we brought it. First, from our perspective this is not a claim against the County but for the County. More directly, it’s on your behalf. The only relief being asked of the Court is to declare that, according to the Charter, this Council, you all, have the power to appoint who you choose to sit on the Planning Commission. That’s it in a nutshell. A synopsis with legal authority is attached if you want more detail.
Which brings us to our “ask,” that we agree to expedite this appeal.
Nobody benefits from ongoing uncertainty about who is and who is not a lawful member of the Planning Commission. Talbot County, the corporate entity, benefits from having this issue resolved quickly in accordance with the Charter. Ensuring the Charter is followed is why we believe this suit is r the benefit of the County anr the benefit of the Council.
The Planning Commission, applicants with pending projects and County taxpayers all require this issue to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Eliminating the cloud over the Planning Commission is reason enough to move forward quickly, but that’s not the only benefit. An expedited appeal also saves tax dollars. A drawn-out process not only wastes valuable time that otherwise could be saved, it costs more.
The public benefits are obvious, which is why we proposed this option immediately, even before we knew how the Circuit Court would decide the case.
The Court recognized this case would be appealed regardless of how it ruled. The Court also recognized this case involves important questions of public concern that need urgent attention. That’s why it scheduled 2 hearings within 2 weeks and issued its decision within 3 weeks after the case was filed. That lightning speed reflects the Court’s own assessment of how urgent it is to get this resolved as quickly as possible.
To keep that ball rolling we consented to expedite the appeal even before the Court issued its opinion. We’ve enclosed a copy of that request.
We wanted to expedite the appeal no matter which side won at the Circuit Court level because getting this resolved quickly is in everyone’s interest. Remember, the only relief we’re asking for is that the Court apply the Charter and declare flint tfiis Council, you all, have the right to make the appointment. be believe you do have that right, but correct or not, it’s still in everyone’s interest to get the issue resolved quickly, as the Circuit Court clearly already recognized.
The time frame overall will be about 31/› months, which is Substantially shorter than an expedited hearing…and results in immediate savings of time and money. This is exactly the right kind of case for this expedited process. It boils down to a single issue, a significant question of public importance that needs to be resolved quickly for the public benefit.
We’re happy to meet or discuss this with you at your convenience. We’d like to present this request during your Council meeting on January 10, 2023, and ask that you sign the expedited appeal not later than that date.
We hope you’ll recognize the good sense and practical benefits to the public through this expedited process.
Thank you for your consideration.
Direk K. Bartlett
Hon. John C. North (ret’d)
Expedited Appeal timeframe:
Once the Joint Election for Expedited Appeal is filed here’s the schedule for getting this resolved:
Within 15 days: Parties file an agreed statement of the case, including essential facts;
Within 15 days after that filing: Appellant files a brief— limited to 2 issues and 2,600 words;
Within 15 days after that filing: Appellee files a brief— limited to 2,600 words;
Within 45 days after that filing: Oral argument, limited to 15 minutes per side
Within 20 days after argument Appellate decision rendered