As the only Republican member of the Appointments Committee of the Board of Legislators I participate in the preliminary interview and approval process for individuals proposed for various positions in county government, including Commissioners and other ranking administration officials.
Traditionally, the County Executive recommends those individuals for administrative positions that are not only qualified but also fit into the administration’s governmental philosophy. It is also the tradition on all levels of government that the chief executive selects the members of his/her administration. Pure politics should never prevent or influence the approval process of such nominees.
Unfortunately, at the January 10th meeting, the Democratic members of the Appointments Committee chose party politics over good government by not only refusing to recommend approval of two important administrative appointments but they actually produced pre-prepared resolutions recommending the “disapproval” of those candidates! After I made the motion to approve the first nominee, Ed Buroughs for Planning Commissioner, there was no second from either of the Democratic members of the Committee. Then, voila, they produced a pre-drafted resolution and voted to disapprove Mr. Buroughs.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Committee Chairman Bill Burton proposed to move on to the next order of business on the agenda, which was the “Discussion Only” topic of Ms. Mary Mahon for Director of Real Estate. To my dismay Mr. Burton then produced another resolution to vote to “disapprove” her appointment. I was appalled! It is well known that an item on an agenda for “discussion only” is not to be voted on but “discussed.” After my objection Mr. Burton agreed that this may be true but he stated that in this case there would be a vote. As with the previous vote both Mr. Burton and the other Democratic member in attendance, Judy Myers, voted to disapprove Ms. Mahon. In both cases I voted “no” on their resolutions.
What makes this political maneuver even more despicable is that both Mr. Buroughs and Ms. Mahon are extensively experienced and highly qualified for the positions in which they are recommended. In fact both have been performing the duties of these positions as “Acting” Commissioner and Director since early in 2010 – and doing an outstanding job! Their appointments should be merely a formality.
Fortunately, the full 17 member Board of Legislators still has the final vote to officially approve or disapprove these nominees at the Tuesday January 18th meeting. Hopefully there will be a bi-partisan majority support for these two fine nominees. A message must be sent that this partisan gamesmanship must end.
The Journal News covered this issue in today’s edition. Read it on line here: