Home Rule… Or Not

My home county, Washington County, is in the throes of attempting to adopt a Home Rule Charter and join the majority of Maryland counties governed by a county executive rather than by a board of commissioners.

Hearings have been more or less completed with the backroom meetings now replacing those that were held in the front room. By August, 2008 we are supposed to have the text of the charter and it will be on the ballot in November, 2008.

I’m very conflicted about this. Washington County is seeing a rapid increase in population and the county government, to be charitable, is just not ready for prime time. So on the one hand I have concerns that we will see our commissioners outgunned and outflanked by the resources available to developers.

Let me state here, I’m not against development. But I didn’t move from DC to Washington County for the ambiance of townhouse communities. If I’d wanted that I would have zeroed in on Montgomery County.

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On the other hand, a strong government tends to run roughshod over the governed. It is easier to keep government in check through a commission system than with the power arrogated to a single executive.

I suppose I’ll make up my mind as we get closer to the ballot date but right now inefficiency looks pretty good.

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