As you know, we at Red Maryland do endorsements from time to time and in this election we are going to take positions on several of the statewide ballot questions.
Today, I get to talk about the one ballot question the editors are unanimously FOR.
Question 3Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 147 of the 2012 Legislative Session)Suspension and Removal of Elected Officials(Amending Article XV, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution)Changes the point at which an elected official charged with certain crimes is automatically suspended or removed from office. Under existing law, an elected official who is convicted or pleads no contest is suspended and is removed only when the conviction becomes final. Under the amended law, an elected official is suspended when found guilty and is removed when the conviction becomes final or when the elected official pleads guilty or no contest.
Have you ever noticed that we have a special label that we apply here at Red Maryland to cases involving corruption? There’s a reason for that. If you have been paying any attention, you will notice the vast number of elected officials. who have been found guilty of crimes in the last few years?
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon
Anne Arundel County Councilman Daryl Jones
Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson
Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson
State Senator Tommy Bromwell
Delegate Tiffany Alston
House Majority Leader Kumar Barve
That says nothing of others who have been charged and found not guilty (State Senator Ulysses Curry) or are currently on trial (Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold).
This constitutional amendment applies up and down the board, to state, county, and municipal elected officials. So instead of having to deal with the sad and bizarre scene in Anne Arundel County where the County Council voted to removed Daryl Jones from office without an explicit charter provision allowing it only to be followed by Jones suing the County for removing him, Jones would automatically have been removed from office.
Let’s face it folks, this amendment is a no-brainer. This is one of the few strong ant-corruption measures that the General Assembly has taken in recent years, and the applicability of this amendment to county and municipal governments is really something that we can be glad to have. I would hope that we would never have to deal with something here in Anne Arundel County again like we dealt with in the Daryl Jones saga, but the applicability across the board is actual good government.
There is only one statewide ballot question deserves a yes vote, and for that reason the editors of Red Maryland are unanimous in their support FOR Question 3.