Cecil County Councilors, School Board, Judges Inaugurated: County Exec McCarthy Appeals for Civility, End to “Animosity” in Politics

December 4, 2018


Two newly-elected members of the Cecil County Council took their oath of office on Monday (12/3/2018), marking a transition to a new generation of senior officials under Charter government, and a new roster of members on the county’s school board and Orphans’ Court.

A highlight of the inaugural events was an impassioned speech by Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy (R), who appealed for a return to civility in government at all levels, and condemned “animosity, contempt for others and a lack of respect for the rule of law.”

The new County Council members are Bill Coutz (R-2) and Al Miller (R-3). Coutz replaces former County Council President Joyce Bowlsbey, who retired and did not seek re-election. He soundly defeated opponents in both the Republican primary and November general election. Miller defeated incumbent Council member Dan Schneckenburger in the GOP primary and was unopposed in the general election.

Coutz thanked his family and supporters and pledged to “work tirelessly” for the good of the county and said “my goals are aligned with yours.” Miller said he was “humbled” by the support he had received from local citizens and thanked members of “Team Miller” for their faith in him.

Also sworn in for a second term on the Council was George Patchell (R-4), who won re-election in the GOP primary and was unopposed in the November general election.

County Executive McCarthy, who is in the middle of this current four-year term as the county’s top office-holder, welcomed all the new and returning elected officials but swiftly turned his attention to the national political climate, although some of his remarks could be seen as reflecting local political questions.

“Currently, too much self-serving partisan politics exists in Washington, DC,” he said. “This is characterized by animosity, contempt for others and a lack of respect for the rule of law. These egotistical and questionable attacks on foundational principles of our government have had a destructive and damaging effect on long established rights of the government and our institutions,” McCarthy said.

“The assault casts a dark cloud over American principles and ideals of honesty, integrity, liberty and human dignity” he said, adding that it was his “sincere hope that this political rancor will soon pass, without tarnishing our position as a world leader and a bastion of liberty in this world.”

While McCarthy’s comments did not name any national or other level of government politicians, they might have been seen as a commentary on the Trump administration in Washington or perhaps some recently defeated local politicians who waged negative campaigns.

When asked about his comments by Cecil Times after the Monday ceremonies, McCarthy said he was inspired by the recent outpouring of positive remembrances of the late President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, who was known for his honest and principled dedication to service to the nation.

[SEE exclusive CECIL TIMES video of McCarthy’s speech on the CECIL TIMES channel on YouTube, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwllK7-wUac&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0iqrQCMqwi_Tjag4hYF2Jxg4g85tQTY3wySjHRSQEhbUouyWC4l1-oW4k]

Meanwhile, after taking the oath of office for his second term, Sheriff Scott Adams said that in his first three years in office, the crime rate had declined by 20 percent, and that so far for this year, the crime rate was down by 12 percent. His numbers drew a loud applause from the audience.

Also sworn into office for the county Board of Education were newcomers Christie L. Stephens and Diana Hawley. Incumbent member William Malesh was sworn in for his second term on the board.

The county’s Orphans Court saw two new members sworn in: Bob Amato and Bill Harris, both Republican activists who will now have to switch political gears to a non-partisan status as judges. Re-elected to the panel was Carolyn Crouch, the longtime Chief Judge of the panel.

The oaths of office for all the elected officials were administered by Clerk of the Circuit Court Charlene Notarcola, who was unopposed for election to her post on both primary and general election ballots this year. She was initially appointed to fill out the term of Derek Lowe, the popular and distinguished Clerk who died suddenly while in office.

The ceremony, held at the North East Volunteer Fire Company’s ballroom and banquet hall, had a holiday theme, as clusters of potted red poinsettias lined the floor in front of the stage, and the Rising Sun High School Chamber Choir, under the direction of Jeff Anderson, performed a medley of holiday songs. Young women in the choir wore crimson-colored gowns, including one singer who bravely stood with a cast on her leg during the long performance, before placing her leg on a scooter to enable her to return to a seat at the side of the stage at the end of the performance.

Also performing at the ceremony was the North East High School Orchestra, under the direction of Kirsten Fitzgerald.

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