Ready to Make History, Cecil County Selects First Council

In 2010, Cecil County elected to transition to a county executive and five-member county council in a historic vote.  After more than forty years of considering the change, the county choice was made.  As reported by the Cecil Daily,

Cecil County gave a decisive victory Tuesday to charter government, changing the way the county is governed after 336 years of a county commissioner-led government.

The long battle to change Cecil County from a commissioner form of government to either code home rule or charter home rule began in 1968, with the first ballot initiative. Forty-two years and five attempts later, the 2010 proposal has garnered the majority it needed to become law in a 14,477 to 10,334 vote.

According to the new charter, the transition would take place on December 3, 2012.  Sitting commissioners will transition to become members of the new council, and the first elected county-executive will take the helm.  Due to their staggered elections, two of the five sitting commissioners were up for election this November.  A third commissioner, Tari Moore, was not up for election but decided to run for county executive.  Her win last night means that there will be a vacancy on the Council in December.

According to the Cecil Charter, the central committee of the political party affiliated with the person vacating office, in this case the Republican party, will submit a list of three possible replacements, and the remaining council members will appoint a person to fill the vacancy from that list.

The Republican central committee has thirty days from the transition to the council system on December 3, 2012 to submit the list of possible replacements.  According to the Cecil Daily, “If the council fails to fill the vacancy, the executive shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy.”

Two district were folding elections for county council seats.  In District 1, Republican Alan McCarthy won the vote.  As reported in the Cecil Daily,

Cecil County voters have chosen retired veterinarian Alan McCarthy to represent the first district on the first elected board to be called a county council.

With most of the all precincts reporting late Tuesday night, McCarthy held 61 percent of the votes cast to Pamela Husfelt Bailey’s 38 percent. He took an early lead as returns started to come in about 20 minutes after the polls closed.

In District 5, Republican incumbent Robert Hodge won a seat on the Council.  As reported in the Cecil Daily,

Republican incumbent Robert Hodge soundly defeated Democrat challenger James Crouse in Tuesday’s election to make the switch from county commissioner to county councilman.

Hodge garnered 20,945 votes in the race for the District 5 county council seat while Crouse had received 16,880 votes.

Commissioner Michael Dunn (District 3) and Commissioner Diana Broomell (District 4) will be converted to members of the County Council, and will be up for election in 2014. The Cecil Council will be sworn in next month.

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