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Munson can't be recalled

February 19, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A Washington County Commissioner cannot be recalled from office during a four-year term, according to advice from the Maryland Attorney General's Office.

Del. Robert A. McKee said he sought the legal opinion after hearing from three voters who were unhappy with Commissioner John C. Munson.

McKee, R-Washington, declined to name the constituents.

Two of them were upset by Munson's comment last week that public education should be privatized, McKee said.

Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Israel researched the issue and found there is no recall provision for county commissioners in state law.

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His Feb. 14 letter, which McKee received Tuesday, said a recall law would be unconstitutional.

Munson was discouraged by the response to his viewpoint on education.

"I think it's a shame that a county commissioner cannot express his opinion," he said.

Munson said his detractors may not understand his position on education.

Under his plan, education would still be publicly funded but would be run more efficiently through a system of vouchers to private schools than by the Washington County Board of Education.

"I'm not against education. My problem is there's a lot of waste down there and they don't do anything about it," he said.

Israel's letter was the second he's written this year concerning Munson.

Last month, McKee asked whether Munson's $30,000 salary could be lowered.

Before he was elected in November, Munson urged that the commissioners reject a $10,000-a-year raise.

He changed his mind after taking office in December, saying the job was more work than he thought.

County commissioner pay cannot be lowered in the middle of a four-year term, according to a Jan. 27 letter from Israel.

McKee, chairman of the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, got that letter at Munson's request.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said Tuesday he has received complaints from voters about Munson but no one has asked him about a recall.

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