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Cecil County Commissioner Broomell Forced Out of Harford County Job

April 8, 2011
By Nancy Schwerzler

Cecil County Commissioner Diana Broomell (R-4) has been forced to “relinquish” her job as manager of the Havre de Grace “Main Street” program because an executive panel of the group believed it posed a conflict with her elected position.

William Price 3rd, president of the Havre de Grace Main Street organization, sent an emailed notice about the decision to members of the organization’s full board, in which he said the group’s executive committee met with Broomell Wednesday and “collectively expressed that it would be best for our organization for her to relinquish her duties. “

Price went on to say that Broomell had been “an invaluable addition to our organization” but that “with her additional responsibilities as County Commissioner she has limited time. Diana and I have had several conversations about this dating back to November, and I know she has been conflicted about” the dual roles.

Cecil Times obtained a copy of Price’s statement, and in a further email exchange with Cecil Times, Price said that the full board was not advised or consulted in advance of the executive committee’s decision regarding Broomell.

He also said that there was no recent issue or problem that led up to the decision but that” Some concerns were raised after her election” among board members.

Broomell’s job in Havre de Grace, which involved promoting the town to tourists and encouraging new business to locate in the community, has been a subject of some questions in Cecil County, especially in her election campaign for County Commissioner. Critics questioned whether she might have a conflict of interest when it came to attracting new business to Cecil County, or promoting business development in the Harford County town.

Broomell did not respond to phone and email messages from Cecil Times requesting her comment on the situation. [See UPDATE below]

However, her husband, Mark, who also serves on the board of the Main Street organization in Harford County, responded angrily in an email response to Price and on his own Facebook page. He accused the executive committee of “cowardess and mallice[sic] toward my wife” and said she was treated “with less respect than a stray animal.”

On Facebook, he wrote, “Can’t believe people can be such low life scumbags”
and said “This is far from over. No one treats my wife like this.” He also commented, “what they did is going to get them in a lot of trouble.”

In his email to Cecil Times, Price said the question of a possible conflict of interest in Mark Broomell having a seat on the board of the organization while his wife served as its executive director was “not to my knowledge” a factor in the committee’s decision. Price said Mark Broomell was “a member of the Havre de Grace business community and has volunteered many hours to the Main Street organization.”

The Broomells own a woodworking business in Cecil County.

Havre de Grace Main Street, Inc. is set up as a non-profit organization and its most recent filings with the Internal Revenue Service, for calendar year 2009, list Diana Broomell as executive director and state she was paid $18,262 in 2009. She assumed the position mid-year. The filings also showed the group had gross receipts of $102,379 in 2009.

[UPDATE: Shortly after this article was posted, Commissioner Broomell called to comment. She said she was “surprised” by the sudden committee action and that “I thought we had a good working relationship.”

She said there were never any conflicts between her duties as a county commissioner and her Main St. job and in fact there were certain synergies as efforts to promote tourism in the region would benefit communities in both counties. “If anything, I think it enhanced what I can do as a county commissioner,” she said, since she was able to receive training and develop contacts in the tourism field that she can use to assist Cecil County tourism promotion.

She said she would not seek to get her job back by taking the matter to the full board and said she felt it was “time for me to move on.” She said she had received a salary of $22,000 a year with no benefits for a 32-hours a week work schedule.

Broomell said she would work with her husband in their woodworking business in addition to her duties as a county commissioner.

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3 Responses to Cecil County Commissioner Broomell Forced Out of Harford County Job

  1. Tammy Baird on April 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Diane Boomell was the manager of Mainstreet (not director as I saw her campaign on or executive director as written here)–an at-will employee. Who had announceed her departure at a previous meeting. As it states in Patch “Broomell also said she would be willing to remain in the position while the board members began reviewing resumes and applications for her eventual successor.” (sounds as if she had an intention to leave) Then she comes back later to state “At the most recent board meeting, it was announced, much to Broomell’s surprise, that she would be leaving. Broomell said her intentions were to remain with Main Street.” (A SUPRPISE?)

    She was clearly in conflict with her decision to leave Mainstreet. Unfortunatly instead of taking the opportunity to receive a severence pay (as most Boards would normally offer) and sincere resignation, she chose to divide the community and attempt to defame the organization.

    Was she really looking out for Havre de Grace or just herself? Now how well is she looking out for Cecil County? I surely hope better than she did for Havre de Grace.

    • Cecil Times on April 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      The Havre de Grace Main Street organization listed Ms. Broomell’s job title as “executive director” on its filings with the federal Internal Revenue Service, as reported here. Ms. Broomell told Cecil Times that “executive director” was initially agreed upon as her job title but it was changed to “manager” when she actually came on board.

      Whatever the title, unless an employee has an employment contract specifying terms, conditions, titles, and exit procedures, just about any employee is considered an “at will” employee.

      • Tammy Baird on April 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

        …”Employment At Will:” What Does It Mean? If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. Job applicants and new employees are often perplexed to read–in a job application, employment contract, or employee handbook–that they will be employed “at will.” They are even more troubled when they find out exactly what this language means: An at-will employee can be fired at any time, for any reason (except for a few illegal reasons, spelled out below). If the employer decides to let you go, that’s the end of your job–and you have very limited legal rights to fight your termination.

        If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. In every state but Montana (which protects employees who have completed an initial “probationary period” from being fired without cause), employers are free to adopt at-will employment policies, and many of them have. In fact, unless your employer gives some clear indication that it will only fire employees for good cause, the law presumes that you are employed “at will.”

        Yes, I stand corrected on the piece written. The IRS reported her as executive director. I would clarify whether that was submitted by Ms. Boomwell as such. Mainstreet, Inc. of Havre de Grace as far as I have found, has never employed a Director/ an Executive Director. I would also fact check what Ms. Boomwell has represented to the Cecil Times on her positioned hired.

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