Monday night, the County Council voted to table Susan Garber’s appointment to the County’s Planning Board by a margin of 4-1 (Greg Fox was the only councilmember to oppose the motion to table). Though the Council has had several months to review her appointment, the majority ultimately voted to not take an up or down vote.
I submitted Susan’s appointment resolution to the County Council on April 23, 2015. The Council has had over two months to hold public hearings, work sessions or even interview Susan privately. At the Council’s public hearing on Susan’s appointment, 16 residents testified in her support (only two came out to oppose her appointment).
Those familiar with Susan know her to be a steadfast supporter of the Savage and surrounding communities. Her appointment was widely supported and her work in the community, especially the special needs community, has been formally recognized by both my predecessor, Ken Ulman, and President Barack Obama. She is well qualified and would make an excellent addition to the County’s Planning Board.
I understand that some of the Council members do not agree with Susan on every issue. Neither do I. Many of you may know that Susan and I disagree on the location of the Day Resource Center and efficiency apartments for the homeless. However, that is not sufficient reason to table her nomination. As with any Howard County resident who has been appointed to serve on a board or commission, Susan is entitled to an up or down vote by the County Council. Failure to do so violates a process that has been in place for years and is akin to the kind of gridlock that you see in Washington, D.C. There’s no place for that in Howard County.
I am very disappointed by their inaction on Monday night. While it is possible the Council may confirm Susan’s appointment at a later date, action is not likely. I call on the County Council to reorganize its priorities, put politics aside and grant each of my Administration’s volunteer appointments an up or down vote. The next County Council legislative session is on July 31st.
I encourage you to share this message with your friends and neighbors and ask them to write to the Council by emailing CouncilMail@howardcountymd.gov asking them to give Susan and any other appointments that they tabled a vote on July 31st.