From the Harford Democratic Central Committee:
On February 15, 2023 Judge Richard Bernhardt granted the petition filed in Harford County Circuit Court challenging the seating of Councilman Jacob Bennett to represent Harford County Council District F for cited conflicts with the Harford County Charter. The Order of the Court creates a vacancy on the County Council, which must be filled by the Central Committee of the same party as the vacating official. As Councilman Bennett was elected as a Democrat, it is the role of the Democratic Central Committee to select candidates to fill the vacancy created by the Judge’s order.
The HCDCC is dedicated to ensuring that the voters of District F are represented on the Harford County Council. We have consulted the MD State Democratic Party and all pertinent parties to determine the appropriate course of action and process to fill such vacancies.
Section 209 of the Harford County Charter legally codifies the County’s procedure for filling a vacancy as follows:
The HCDCC recommends to the County Council three candidates that are selected from a pool of applicants, who must meet all eligibility criteria to serve on the Council. The Council then chooses from that list. If the Council does not choose within that 60-day window, the County Executive chooses from the same list. The timeline to appoint a new councilperson begins when the seat becomes vacant, and must be completed within 60 days. The clock for both the HCDCC and the County Council to make their selection started February 15, 2023.
Given that Councilman Bennett’s petition to stay the order during his appeal process was denied, and that he remains an employee of HCPS after the expiration of the ten day period given by the Court to resolve the conflict, Judge Bernhardt’s order remains in force, and HCDCC is thereby required to move forward with submitting candidates to fill the seat in the allotted time.
The HCDCC is committed to a transparent and open procedure that honors the intent of the voters of District F and complies with Article X Section 5 of the Maryland State Party Bylaws. To help the HCDCC fulfill this responsibility, the process for the application, review and selection of candidates to fill the vacancy will be posted and advertised with widest possible dissemination in local media, social media, and on our website.
The post will include instructions for submission of candidate applications, a description of required application materials, a summary of the eligibility criteria, and the date and location of the public meeting at which the HCDCC will decide. The vacancy will be advertised for no less than two weeks prior to the application deadline. The interview and selection of the candidates will be conducted in a public meeting of the HCDCC, date and venue to be announced separately.
The HCDCC continues to stand with elected Councilman Bennett in his fight to represent District F on the Harford County Council and will work with him as he obtains clarity on the eligibility of educators to serve under the County Charter. We commend Councilman Bennett in his successful election by Council District F voters to serve as their representative to the Harford County Council. His work to flip District F was truly impressive and we thank him, his wife and supporters for the spirited campaign that put a second Democrat on the Harford County Council.
Your Harford Democratic Central Committee
Henry Gibbons, Chair
Katie York, Vice-Chair
Stephen Puopolo, Secretary
Mike Ciufo, Treasurer
Lawrence Del Prete
Barbara Osborn Kreamer
Alicia Myers Pope
Kirk Smith says
There are some good folks on the HCDCC. I am sure you will do the right thing, and choose Wini!
The county made the correct decision. Bennet was clearly trying to pull a fast one and got caught. Of course, the crew choosing a replacement has at least one outright liar.
Barbara Kreamer came to our door as she was running for some office she again didn’t win. She told my wife “I’m just a grandma who’s concerned” and didn’t bother to tell her that she’s a former delegate and member of the County Council. Typical lefty liar
Barbara S says
Bennett did not pull a fast one. He and his lawyer investigated the situation to be sure he could run. And all was good, until he pushed the long-time incumbent out of office. They never saw that coming. He is a person of integrity, intelligence, compassion, honesty, and commitment to public service. Of course Cassilly and his ilk feel threatened.
Sam Adams says
The irony of hypocrisy. They will follow the county charter to fill the vacancy while denying the county charter that precludes Bennett from serving.
Arts Friend says
who are the applicants?