Smipkins Pick Cecil County Charter Government Foe, Zeauskas, for Charter Advisory Panel
The Cecil County Republican Central Committee has named its chairman, Chris Zeauskas, to a seat on the Charter Government Advisory panel, county officials were told Tuesday. Zeauskas criticized the Charter form of government in the 2010 election season, when voters overwhelmingly approved Charter.
Two seats on the advisory panel were vacated recently when Commissioners Tari Moore (R-5) and Diana Broomell (R-2) were advised they should resign because their announced candidacy for County Executive this year could be considered a conflict of interest.
The advisory panel is drafting proposed regulations and rules for operations of the County Council and its interactions with the County Executive when the Charter form of government replaces the current County Commissioner form of government after the 2012 elections.
The County Commissioners decided last week that the two vacated seats on the panel should be filled upon the recommendation of the county’s Democratic and Republican central committees, with each committee getting to name one member.
Zeauskas phoned county officials to inform them that he would be taking the GOP seat, several sources told Cecil Times. How he was selected, and by whom, was unclear, since the full Republican Central Committee has had few public meetings since a “slate” of candidates backed by the Smipkin political organization– led by state Del. Michael Smigiel and Sen. E.J. Pipkin, both R-36– took control of seven out of nine seats on the GOP committee in the 2010 election.
Meanwhile, the Cecil County Democratic Central Committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening to discuss potential nominees for their seat, according to committee chairman John Ulrich. He said the Democrats were seeking someone independent of the party committee itself and that a choice would be made by a majority vote of the party panel.
“I’d never make a unilateral decision” about such an appointment, Ulrich said, adding that the Democrats wanted to reach a broad consensus on a candidate to sit on such an important panel.
[UPDATE: The Democrats decided, by a majority vote of the Central Committee, to name Wyatt Wallace to the Charter advisory panel, Ulrich said. Wallace is president of the Cecil County Democrat Club and is a volunteer serving on the county Planning Commission.]
Selection of members for the advisory panel became a heated issue among the County Commissioners last year, especially when the usually silent Commissioner Michael Dunn (R-3) launched a tirade against Joyce Bowlsbey, who chaired the committee that drafted the charter document and helped promote the idea to county voters.
[SEE previous Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2011/03/cecil-county-charter-commissioners-diss-bowlsbey-seek-new-face-on-charter-panel-to-be-run-by-old-faces/
Dunn likened her to a “fox in the henhouse” and insisted that she be banned from the advisory panel. Dunn, who has a seat on the Charter advisory panel and will keep it since he is not running for another office this year, was echoing the sentiments of his political mentors, Smigiel and Pipkin, who strongly opposed Charter government and attacked Bowlsbey’s role in the process.
Putting Zeauskas on the advisory panel will add another Smipkin voice critical of the Charter form of government. Last year, Zeauskas posted comments on the “Someonenoticed” blog in Elkton criticizing charter. On 9/30/10, he wrote, “The truth about what happens when Charter is adopted is that the size and power of government is grown, along with it’s [sic] budget. “
Zeauskas also ran as a candidate in the 2010 Republican primary for County Commissioner against Moore, who defeated him soundly.