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Published by Bryan P. Sears

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Published by: Bryan P. Sears on Jan 29, 2010
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Answers for the County Council / county government quiz1. No. Council members do not vote on issues at work sessions.2. Yes, work sessions are all open to the public.3. Speakers are not permitted to speak at work sessions on items not on theagenda.4. There are seven council members.5. Currently there are six Democrats and one Republican on the council.6. The County Council is the legislative branch in the county.7. The charter sets forth requirements that a bill be voted on within 45-days afterintroduction. As a practical matter (and the answer for this question) the councilvotes on a bill within 28 days of its introduction. 8. Most resolutions can be voted on the same day as they are introduced.Resolutions for PUDs are required to be voted on the legislative session after theyare introduced.9. A fiscal matter is defined as items pertaining to spending of county money —typically for a contract or other purchase.10. The executive has 10 days in which to sign a bill passed by the council,according to the charter. The executive may also veto a bill or let it becomeenrolled without his signature by letting the 10 day period pass.11. Four votes are needed to pass a bill unless it is emergency legislation or has aan effective date that is shorter than set in the charter, which requires five votes.12. No, a bill cannot be introduced and voted on at the same time.13. Yes, a resolution can be introduced and voted on at the same time.14. No, the council chairman is elected from among the members of the council —typically the majority party.15. Yes, council candidates must live in the district they wish to represent.16. The council Web site is: www.baltimorecountymd.gov/countycouncil.17. Yes, Council agendas are on the Web site.
 
18. Yes, legislation is available electronically from the Web site.19. No. Legislation that has been introduced may be amended but the council musthave a formal and public vote on those amendments.20. The council is the franchising authority for the county. A good example is thecable television contracts.21. There are seven council districts.22. Council members are currently paid $54,000. That salary will not change for thefour-year term that begins Dec. 2010.23. The chairman is paid $60,000. That salary will not change for the four-yearterm that begins Dec. 2010.24. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.25. Speakers at council meetings have 3 minutes.26. Comprehensive rezoning, known as CZMP, is done every four years.27. Redistricting is based on the Census and is done every 10 years.28. Vince Gardina is the longest serving council member with five terms. He is alsothe only councilman to serve five terms.29. Ken Oliver is he junior member of the council with just two terms.30. Charter amendments passed by the council must be approved by countyvoters.31. All county department heads are appointed by the county executive but requirethe advice and consent of the council. Prior to the passage of a charter amendmentin 2002, only the appointments of the county administrative officer, county attorneyand the police and fire chiefs required council.32. Fred Homan is the county administrative officer.33. The three legislative branches are: county executive (executive), council(legislative) and district/circuit courts (judicial). Yes, technically the two courtsystems are technically functions of the state but for the purposes of this question,they are the third branch of government.34. Citizens are allowed to speak at legislative sessions and are typically given 3minutes to talk about whatever they wish even if it's an issue not on the agenda
 
(this is different from work sessions in question #3).35. The council chairman, county executive and council secretary are required tosign a bill that is enrolled.36. PAM is a designation that means a bill was passed with amendments.37. CEB on the agenda means Current Expense Budget.38. The county auditor works for and is appointed by the council and is not electedby county voters.39. Unless otherwise specified, the County Charter states that the effective date ofany bill is 45 days.40. County employees seeking a zoning variance must file a public disclosure.Those disclosures part of the council's legislative session agenda and are handledwith other resolutions.41. Council chairmen may serve more than one consecutive year in the positionthough as a pragmatic matter the council elects a new chairman each year at thefirst meeting in January. Bragging rights to those of you who can name everychairman since 1995. Super bragging rights if you can do it in chronological order.If you know, leave the answer in the comments section of the blog.42. Council members are elected by district. There are no at-large or countywidemembers of the council.43. Councilman John Olszewski Sr. is currently the council's youngest councilman.He has a birthday on Feb. 24 so wish him a happy birthday.44. Berchie Manley, the Catonsville Republican, was the last woman to serve onthe council from 1990 to 1994.45. County Executive Jim Smith was an employee of the county before beingappointed to the Circuit Court. Smith served as a county councilman from 1978 to1985.46. The central committee of the party of the resigning councilman is responsiblefor selecting a replacement.47. Jim Smith was the last councilman to resign before the end of his term. he didso in 1985 when he was appointed to the county Circuit Court. His replacementwas C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.48. Jim Smith, the current county executive, is a Democrat.

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