Broomell to be Removed from Drug Panel for ‘Disruption;’ Claims Foes ‘Lying’ and ‘Profiting’ from Crisis
(With Exclusive Cecil Times Video)
The Cecil County Council is taking steps to remove Councilor Diana Broomell (R-4) from the countyâs Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, at the request of health officials, after a recent meeting of the panel was abruptly adjourned after Broomell and some allies loudly challenged the proceedings.
Broomell restrained her anger at the move during a County Council worksession on Tuesday morning, as two Sheriffâs Deputies were posted in the back of the meeting room to keep order. It was the third time that deputies have been called to attend Council worksessions out of concerns that Broomell would disrupt the proceedings.
Nevertheless, she was gaveled as being âout of orderâ twice by County Council President Robert Hodge (R-5). At one point, Broomell glared at Hodge and said, âYouâre lying.â
Hodge initiated the steps to remove Broomell, citing the county Charter that would allow him to remove Broomell and appoint another Council member as the County Councilâs representative to the panel, which includes multiple state and local agencies and groups dealing with the drug abuse problem. But Hodge said he chose to act via a resolution that will be voted upon by the full County Council.
âI could do it unilaterally,â Hodge said. âBut I think itâs fairer to do it by resolution.â
But there was little doubt that a three-vote majority of the Council will agree to oust Broomell from the panel, since Broomell has frequently attacked the majority on a wide range of issues and made accusations of impropriety against them individually without factual substantiation. Broomellâs days on the County Council are numbered anyway, since she lost last Tuesdayâs Republican primary to hold on to her seat and she will be out of public office in early December.
Broomellâs political loss was cited in a letter to Hodge from the countyâs health officer, Stephanie Garrity, asking that Broomell be replaced by County Councilor Alan McCarthy (R-1). (Hodge admitted to Broomell that he had drafted the resolution before receiving the letter on Monday 6/30/14.)
McCarthy, a veterinarian, has used his science background to ask detailed questions of drug experts, such as doctors from Johns Hopkins University who have briefed the County Council on the physiology of addiction and substance abuse problems. His County Council term has two more years to run.
In her letter, Garrity said that âin light of the results of the recent primary electionâ she was requesting that Broomell be replaced as the County Councilâs representative to the drug and alcohol panel.
âBecause of the many multi-agency projects either in full swing or in development that, hopefully, will stem the tide of substance abuse and overdose deaths in Cecil County, collaboration and collegiality are necessary in order for the DACC to function as it was originally intended by Maryland statute. Disparate opinions are always welcome, but must occur in an atmosphere of mutual respect. That is not happening now,â Garrity wrote.
Last week, a meeting of the DACC was adjourned prematurely after Broomell interrupted and challenged its leaders whom she accused if not following proper procedures. Similarly, several weeks ago a drug symposium sponsored by the Maryland Association of Counties that was held in Cecil County was interrupted by Broomell and allies, until Sheriff Barry Janney stood up and warned that continued interruptions would result in people being escorted from the room by law enforcement officials.
Broomell has made some valid objections to the ways the DACC has operated in the past two years, such as not having properly approved bylaws and holding few meetings even as the drug crisis in the county has escalated. She has also complained that too much unilateral power has been given to Ken Collins, a health department employee who was named by County Executive Tari Moore as her special advisor on drug issuesâa âdrug czar.â
But, as is often the case with Broomell, the substance of what she is trying to say gets lost in the over-the-top rhetoric and loud name-calling against people who disagree with her viewpoint.
The presence of two deputies at Tuesdayâs Council worksession clearly miffed Broomell, who suggested it was an attempt to intimidate her. But the police presence did tamp down the volume and number of interruptions of other Councilors even as she made sharp accusations.
âYouâre lying,â she told Hodge at one point. The she accused him of an âorchestratedâ effort to silence her and asserted that Hodge did not want to solve the countyâs drug abuse crisis because he was aligned with people who âprofited fromâ drug abuse.
Cecil Times video-recorded some of Broomellâs retorts at the worksession and the video can be seen on our YouTube channel here: