From Harford County Council Vice President Tony Giangiordano:
Harford County Council Vice President Tony Giangiordano introduced Bill 23-028. The aim of this legislation is to establish term limits of three terms for council members, in alignment with the principles put forth in two prior bills. The first of which was never introduced and the second was withdrawn. Bill 23-003, the first of the bills, was originally scheduled for introduction by Council Members Penman and Boyle-Tsottles on February 74, 2023. However, it was circulated to the public on February 31, 2023 and subsequently withdrawn on February 6′, 2023 due to false claims of support.
Councilman Penman’s three term limit bill, that councilman tried to introduce twice, was added to the agenda on February 3rd. Then on the session day, February 7th, Bill 23-003 was withdrawn.
Furthermore, Councilman Penman recently made erroneous statements on local TV and released a video with inaccurate information. The video claims there is a pension system for current council members.
Which, per the Director of Human Resources for the county “…there are no councilmembers in such system.” Therefore, proving the councilman’s claims to be misinformed.
Prior to the introduction of Bill 23-003, an unofficial meeting took place on January 9th at 1:30 PM at The Local restaurant in Fallston, involving former County Executive Barry Glassman, Council Members Penman, and Boyle-Tsottles. After a Proclamation Presentation for an unrelated event, Councilmembers Giangiordano and Reilly then entered the restaurant for lunch. At that time, both Councilmen witnessed the meeting taking place in the comer of the restaurant. After Council Members Penman and Bovle-Tsottles left the establishment, Mr. Glassman approached Council Members Giangiordano and Reilly.
Mr. Glassman said the meeting was to discuss Penman’s term limits legislation and how to leverage Mr. Glassman’s term limit ideas and expertise to garner council support for such legislation.
Subsequently, Councilman Penman attempted to secure support for proposed legislation based on discussions with Mr. Glassman, who Councilman Penman stated was his mentor and advisor.
Councilman Penman excluded Councilman Giangiordano from these conversations and documents until the planned introduction on February 74, 2023. In the weeks that followed, the January 9th, 2023 meeting Councilman Penman misled council members by falsely claiming widespread support for his bill, including having the necessary votes for passage. While Bill 23-003 was slated for introduction on February 7th, 2023 a meeting on February 6th, 2023 revealed Councilman Penman’s deception, as he had only one co-sponsor.
Councilman Penman’s campaign to garner support for his bill involved the spreading of inaccurate information while simultaneously withholding critical information from fellow council members. When confronted with these inaccuracies, Councilman Penman was unwilling to engage in negotiations for a mutually beneficial term limits agreement. Ultimately, this led to Councilman Penman’s withdrawal of the bill before its formal introduction at the February 7, 2023 council meeting.
On May 2, 2023, Council Members Penman and Boyle-Tsottles made a second attempt and introduced term limit legislation with Bill 23-016.
Discussions were held with various council members in support of three-term limits and the inclusion of a succession clause, which Councilman Giangiordano planned to introduce as an amendment for the June 13th 2023 meeting.
The amendment was co-sponsored by Councilman Giangiordano, Councilman Reilly, and Councilman Guthrie. This amendment aimed to include a succession clause allowing individuals to run for office again after a minimum of four years off. However, Councilman Penman chose to withdraw the bill without any public discussion or vote, denying the opportunity for compromise.
On September 5th 2023, a new bill was introduced by Council Vice President Giangiordano, Councilman Reilly, and Councilman Guthrie, which will not be withdrawn and brought to the public. Prior to the Legislative Session meeting, Councilman Penman insisted that Councilman Guthrie remove his name from the Bill which he refused. The next morning, Councilman Penman called Councilman Guthrie and again, insisted he abstain or vote “no” to which Councilman Guthrie refused to do. Furthermore, if Councilman Penman is for “two terms” why has he campaigned and fundraised with other elected official that have served more than two terms or advocate for other local officials not to serve more than two terms. Councilman Penman continues to contradict his policies and has proven such actions.
In conclusion, Bill 23-028 represents a compromise between the two original bills presented by Council Members Penman and Boyle-Tsottles, with the key difference being the inclusion of a succession clause.
Unfortunately, Penman is trying to disparage the council and spread misinformation so that the public thinks his new campaign for two term limits was his initial idea. This provision empowers citizens to decide if a former councilmember should be allowed to seek re-election, placing the ultimate choice in their hands.
We hope this information clarifies the situation and provides a more accurate representation of the proposed term limit legislation in Harford County.
Please contact the Council Vice President’s office with any questions.