Carroll May Evaluate Charter Government

Carroll County, the state’s most populous county without charter home rule, is preparing to assess the argument for and against a change to that structure.

At the June 15 Board of County Commissioner’s meeting, the Board directed county staff to develop some initial analysis of such a change. From coverage in the Carroll County Times:

On Thursday, [Commissioner Doug] Howard noted that the county’s current government set-up — it switched from three at-large commissioners to five commissioners elected by district in 2010 — means voters are only voting for one-fifth of a say in county government.

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, agreed with Howard that there is a sense at meetings at the state level with officials from other counties that county commissioners do not hold as much power or value as a county executive does.

“You do feel like you’re at the kids’ table,” Wantz said.

Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, said he had plans to meet with officials in Frederick County, which made the transition from a commissioner government to a charter government in 2014, to gather more information about the switch.

“I think this is a serious issue,” said Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, who said the board should also look into code home rule, another form of government that offers counties more local control than commissioner governments but generally less than charter governments.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties